Activist-tour guide Carlos Celdran appeals jail sentence
Activist-tour guide Carlos Celdran has asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision sending him to jail for offending priests with his pro-Reproductive Health (RH) law protest stunt inside the Manila Cathedral eight years ago.
In a motion he filed on Wednesday, Celdran asked the high court to overturn the decision handed down by its three-member First Division last March.
The division upheld the decision of the Court of Appeals in 2015 and two Manila trial courts in 2012 sentencing Celdran to a minimim three months to a maximim of a year for “offending religious feelings.”
Freedom of expression
In his appeal, Celdran asked the Supreme Court as a whole to declare as unconstitutional the crime of “offending religious feelings” in the Revised Penal Code.
Penalizing him for supposedly offending religious feelings “infringes on the freedom of expression,” he added.
On Sept. 20, 2010, Celdran barged into the Manila Cathedral and held up a placard that read “Damaso” before Church leaders, including then Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and the papal nuncio, who were attending an ecumenical service.
Celdran claimed that his stunt, using Jose Rizal’s literary figure of oppressive friars during Spanish colonial times, was a speech to protest the clergy’s position against the RH law. —Dona Z. Pazzibugan
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