Imagine this scenario: You’re at a cinema and about to watch the latest local movie with your friends, then suddenly, you’re being arrested. Why? Because you didn’t stand up when the Philippine national anthem was played inside the theater.
It may sound downright ridiculous, but that’s exactly what happened to 34 unsuspecting moviegoers yesterday at a mall in Lemery, Batangas.
Before the movie started, the national anthem, Lupang Hinirang, was played. All 34 remained seated during the anthem, which the police said was “disrespectful.”
That’s right folks. And it’s totally legal to arrest them for that.
According to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8491 or the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, when the anthem is played at a public place, everyone should stand at attention.
And take note, a person is required by law to actually sing the anthem. Or as the law says: “The singing must be done with fervor.” No one is allowed to just mumble the lyrics.
For some strange reason, the police were actually inside the cinema and even managed to take a video of the moviegoers sitting down.
In an ideal world, policemen are supposed to keep our streets safe, but in Batangas, we guess some are too busy rounding up people who “disrespect” the national anthem.
According to ABS-CBN, the 34 moviegoers never got the chance to watch the movie, as they were arrested immediately after the anthem ended.
One of those arrested said that they weren’t aware the cops were inside the cinema and claimed that he thought the anthem was a commercial.
The arrested moviegoers will be charged with violating the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines.
If found guilty of violating the law, they could be fined not less than PHP5,000 (US$92.79) and not more than PHP20,000 (US$371.18), be imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.