Eight years after Carlos Celdran’s controversial “Damaso” protest in the Manila Cathedral, the Philippine Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the court’s decision and found the artist and known Manila tour guide guilty of “offending religious feelings.”
Yes, in the Philippines, that is illegal.
The SC’s resolution is dated Mar. 21, 2018 however, it was only released yesterday. Celdran himself posted a photo of it on his Facebook page with the caption: “It’s come to pass. My appeal in the Supreme Court has been denied and my sentence is upheld. Three months minimum to a year and a month maximum.”
It's come to pass. My appeal in the Supreme Court has been denied and my sentence is upheld. Threemonths minimum to a year and a month maximum. #damaso
In 2010, Celdran — an artist, tour guide, and activist — protested the Catholic Church’s stance against the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill by interrupting a mass at the Manila Cathedral.
While there, he was carrying a placard with the name “Damaso,” written on it, a reference to a character in the classic Filipino novel Noli Me Tangere. In the book written by national hero Jose Rizal, Padre Damaso is described as a corrupt priest who fathers a child after raping a woman.
The RH Bill, which promotes sex education and family planning, has since been signed into law but still has not been fully implemented.
Celdran’s stunt led to his arrest. He was jailed at the Manila Police District Station 5 for one night but posted a bail of PHP6,000 (US$113.45) the next day.
In 2013, a Manila court found Celdran guilty of violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code or “offending religious feelings.” He has also appealed the decisions of the Metropolitan Trial Court, the Regional Trial Court, and the Court Appeals but was denied.
According to the SC’s decision released yesterday, Celdran could face a minimum imprisonment of 2 months and 21 days and a maximum of 1 year, 1 month, and 11 days.