Catholic church leaves activist’s fate to gov’t

MANILA The Archdiocese of Manila is leaving the fate of cultural activist Carlos Celdran over his "Damaso" protest at the Manila Cathedral in September 2010 to the government.

So we leave to the government the tasks that are properly theirs, especially in implementing the law, so as long as the rights and dignity of a person is respected, Manila Archdiocesan Office of Communication head Fr. Roy Bellen said in a statement.

He noted that they do not know how to react to the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to uphold the guilty verdict on Celdran for violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code or offending the religious feelings.

We do not say that the Archdiocese is pleased simply because a person has been convicted. The Church has always desired the good of persons and institutions, Bellen said.

Although there was an initial complaint made to make the authorities aware of the incident and that they may help prevent such situation to take place again, there was never any legal move from the part of the Archdiocese, he added.

The case against Celdran was filed when the activist, dressed as the Filipino hero Jose Rizal, shouted at Church leaders to stop meddling in politics, including the Catholic Church's strong opposition to the passage of the Reproductive Health bill.

Carrying a sign that read Damaso, which refers to the antagonist priest in Rizal's novel Noli Me Tangere, Padre Damaso, Celdran repeatedly shouted Stop getting involved in politics! during a Church event where then Manila Archbishop Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales and then Papal Nuncio Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams were present.

In 2013, the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 4 found Celdran guilty.

On Monday, the SC affirmed verdict Celdran after his defense supposedly failed to show errors meted by the lower court. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency