via Church critic Carlos Celdran convicted for ‘Damaso’ stunt by Jose Carlos Maningat
A Manila court has convicted blogger and Manila tour guide Carlos Celdran for “offending religious feelings” as he staged a protest during a mass in 2010 to criticize the Catholic Church’s meddling in political affairs, particularly on the issue of reproductive health rights.
In its ruling issued by Judge Juan Bermejo Jr., the Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 4 said Celdran is guilty for the crime of “Offending the Religious Feelings” under Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code, sentencing him to two months and 21 days of imprisonment, to a maximum of one year, one month and 11 days of imprisonment.
“All told, the positive declaration of the (prosecution) witnesses… (is) sufficient to satisfy the quantum of evidence needed for a criminal conviction,” the Manila court said in its resolution.
Celdran, who is out on bail, said in a GMA News report that the court’s decision “proves that any parish priest can put you in jail if he is offended… The laws of ‘Noli’ are alive and well and still working. The time of Jose Rizal is not over.”
He added that he is willing to appeal his case up to the Supreme Court.
Human Rights Watch Asia researcher Carlos Conde on Monday described the court’s conviction of Celdran as a setback for freedom of speech in the country.
“This is a setback for free speech in the Philippines, which prides itself on being a democracy. This verdict should be reversed. Nobody should be jailed for voicing out an opinion or position, especially on a subject that concerns the lives of millions of Filipino women and mothers,” Conde said in a report.
Here is the decision by Judge Juan Bermejo Jr.
Judge Juan Bermejo Jr. decision re Carlos Celdran guilty for the crime of “Offending the Religious Feelings… by BlogWatch.ph
written decision Via Filipino Freethinkers