QC court allows exorcist priest to travel abroad; tells prosecutors to amend case
MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Court gave prosecutors 30 days to amend the criminal case against an exorcist priest, who was allowed to travel abroad.
In an order dated August 29 but made public Monday, QCRTC Branch 81 said the information or charge sheet against Fr. Winston Cabading, a Dominican priest, “failed to state an offense.”
The court said failure to amend the criminal case within 30 days will lead to its dismissal.
The case against Cabading was filed by devout Catholic, former Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Harriet Demetriou. She accused Cabading of offending religious feelings for his statements related to the Marian apparition in Lipa Batangas in 1948.
Cabading, in the online show, said the devotees “only want to listen to their own. They listen if it pleases them, pag di sila nag agree [if they do not agree] reject. So, sila ang basis ng truth hindi ang discernment ng Simbahan [the basis of their truth is not the Church’s discernment.]
The case was eventually filed in court. Last May, he was arrested. He was released from detention after paying P18,000 bail.
Cabading then filed a motion to quash, stating that the Information or charge sheet was defective as it failed to allege the elements of the crime of Offending Religious Feelings under the Revised Penal Code.
The elements are 1. the acts complained of were performed in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony, and 2. the act must be notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful.
In this case, the court said there was “no object of veneration damaged or destroyed in a religious ceremony nor was there any religious ceremony to speak of.”
Meanwhile, the court granted Cabading’s request to travel abroad to attend the International Conference of the Association of Exorcists in Rome from September 25 to 30.
The court said Cabading is not a flight risk as he returned to the country when he was allowed to travel abroad last June 13, 2023.