Celdran found guilty of 'offending religious feelings'


Posted at Jan 28 2013 03:44 PM | Updated as of Feb 04 2013 07:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Celebrity tour guide and artist Carlos Celdran was found guilty by the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court for “offending religious feelings” after pulling the “Damaso” stunt in Manila Cathedral on September 30, 2010.

Carlos Celdran (in hat) confers with his friends on Monday. Photo by Nina Corpuz for ABS-CBN News

In a decision penned by Pairing Judge Juan O. Bermejo Jr., the court said Celdran is guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code. The provision dictates the imposition of a penalty upon anyone “who, in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful.”

Bermejo ordered Celdran’s imprisonment of two months and 21 days up to one year, one month and 11 days.

The decision was actually issued on December 14, 2012, but was only released on Monday.

In 2010, Celdran used a placard with the word “Damaso” and held it up in the middle of the mass.

He was also supposedly shouting “bakit mahihirap lang pinagbabawalan sa family planning.”

Damaso, a character in Jose Rizal’s "Noli Me Tangere," is described as a powerful friar who wields his power to get what he wants. Damaso is one of the most notorious characters in the novel, which touches on the abuses of the Spanish friars during the 19th century.

Celdran, known for his Intramuros tour guides, was also supposedly quoted previously saying: “Keep your rosaries out of my ovaries.”

Celdran entered court on Monday garbed in his usual “Jose Rizal” attire, and said he “feels okay.” He said the incident was “worth every moment” since the Reproductive Health Act is now in place.

His lawyer, Marlon Manuel, said they will appeal the decision before the regional trial court or the Supreme Court.

Celdran is on temporary provisional liberty. He posted a P6,000 bail when he was charged in 2010. -- Report from Nina Corpuz, ABS-CBN News