SolGen seeks Carlos Celdran's acquittal over 'Damaso' ruling


Posted at Aug 14 2018 05:04 PM | Updated as of Aug 15 2018 05:57 PM

MANILA - The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to reverse its ruling that upheld the guilty verdict against cultural activist Carlos Celdran for "offending religious feelings" over a 2010 stunt that hit the Catholic church.

In a 20-page pleading signed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, the OSG asked the high court's First Division to declare the crime "offending religious feelings" or Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code unconstitutional.

It said there is not enough factual basis to support Celdran's conviction.

"The prosecution failed to prove, much less identify, a religious practice, dogma or ritual that was allegedly ridiculed by Petitioner's act of displaying the placard 'DAMASO' in the Manila Cathedral resulting in an offense to religious feelings," the pleading read. 

The Supreme Court had upheld the Court of Appeals' 2012 decision which found Celdran guilty of "offending religious feelings."

The case stems from Celdran's infamous "Padre Damaso" stunt inside the Manila Cathedral on Sept. 30, 2010 during an ecumenical service attended by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, the Papal Nuncio, former Philippine Ambassador to Rome Henrietta De Villa, and leaders of different Christian denominations.

Celdran wore a black suit and bore a placard that read "Damaso" to protest the position taken by the church against the then Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, which has been passed into law.

In an interview with ANC last week, Celdran said serving jail time would be "worth it" following the enactment of the Reproductive Health Law which guarantees sex education for the youth and free birth control for women.

"That's a win at least. At least the conviction makes it worth its time," he said.

Read the OSG's motion here: