MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III, who backed the Reproductive Health (RH) bill and signed it into law, sympathizes with celebrity tour guide and cultural performer Carlos Celdran but does not agree with his anti-Church protest.
On the sidelines of the 40th anniversary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Aquino said he does not agree with Celdran’s stunt that led to a court case and guilty verdict.
Nonetheless, Aquino said he hopes that Catholic bishops will just forgive Celdran out of “Christian generosity.”
In a decision dated December 14, Manila Metropolitan Trial Court Pairing Judge Juan O. Bermejo Jr., found Celdran guilty of “offending religious feelings.”
Celdran had pulled a stunt at the Manila Cathedral in September 2010 to protest the Church’s intervention and opposition to the reproductive health bill.
Celdran used a placard with the word “Damaso,” a character from Jose Rizal's "Noli Me Tangere," and held it up during an ecumenical program in the church.
Damaso is a notorious character in the novel, which touches on the abuses of the Spanish friars during the 19th century.
The court ordered his imprisonment for two months and 21 days up to one year, one month and 11 days.
Celdran will be filing an appeal. – with a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News