Carlos Celdran Goes To Jail

I’ve got issues with performance artist Carlos Celdran, but I’ll be one of the first in the Get Real community to set those aside and support the call for our legislators to undertake a thorough review of the Revised Penal Code in order to keep it in step with the times.

monopoly-go-to-jail-card12In his status update, Celdran says, “My statement: It saddens me to hear this decision upholding my conviction for “Offending Religious Feelings”. I’m sad not only for my case in particular, but for the Philippines as well. This conviction is just a symptom of a larger disease. There is a bigger picture of corruption and patronage in the Philippine justice system. We need to address these issues if ever we are to move forward as a people. This case will now be elevated to the Supreme Court to question the law itself and hopefully have Article 133 removed from the Penal Code altogether. This archaic law which which suppresses freedom of speech has no place in modern Philippine society. The timing of this decision couldn’t be more poignant as well.”

I think religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church in the Philippines, have to be more tolerant towards people like Celdran and others who commit acts that may be deemed offensive but still lie within the bounds of one’s right to freedom of expression.

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In my view, what Celdran did should be treated as a civil case and not a criminal one. I may have a simple notion about this because my thinking is that disagreements over matters of religion and of faith should be settled between citizens.

The God I choose to believe in can’t be harmed by words on a placard or even a throng of non-believers shouting insults at Him. And, while such things can challenge my faith, I also recognize that my faith is an issue between me and my God — not between me and my fellow human beings.

Then again, there is one comment in Celdran’s Facebook post that bears emphasizing here.

Jose Roco Art. 133 is not archaic and does not unreasonably suppress freedom of speech. It actually promotes freedom of religion — a fundamental right enjoyed by all civilized societies. Freedom of speech is not absolute. If the exercise of free speech offends other fundamental rights (e.g. freedom of religion), exercise thereof can be curtailed.
22 · 7 hrs · Edited

Nikolai Pascasio “Laws against blasphemy or “religious insult” (found throughout the world, including half of all Council of Europe member states) are inherently discriminatory against secularists and religious dissenters. They are discriminatory in that secularists have no legal recourse—nor should they—when the words of believers offend their moral sensibilities, nor can gays take the publishers of Leviticus to court for the spiritual affront to them that it surely is. Skeptics and heterodox believers, on the other hand, do have an Article 18 right to live and speak according to their conscience even when it offends the orthodox.

Paragraph 32 of the new comment also cautions states against employing a narrow notion of so-called public morals to restrict speech, effectively ruling out laws that defer to a particular faith tradition: “the concept of morals derives from many social, philosophical and religious traditions; consequently, limitations… for the purpose of protecting morals must be based on principles not deriving exclusively from a single tradition.”

-UN Resolution on the Right to Blasphemy
9 · 7 hrs

Jose Roco Be that as it may, international law tells us that UN resolutions are merely recommendatory and not binding.

In any case, the point of Art. 133 is simple. Walang basagan ng trip. No matter what religious denomination you belong to, you are free to exercise your beliefs provided that it does prejudice anyone. You are also entitled to be protected against acts that would impinge on the free exercise of your beliefs.

You can exercise freedom of speech almost everywhere. But please disabuse your minds that you can say whatever the hell you want in recognized religious spaces (e.g. churches, mosques, temples, etc.)

carlos celdran pnoy kris aquinoThat said, I think Celdran should also heed the words of his good friend, President/King Noynoy Aquino and to paraphrase it, “But Carlos, you will not die, right?”

All things considered, I think Celdran is actually lucky that Filipinos are actually quite tolerant — albeit, sometimes, in a passive aggressive sort of way.

In other places around the world and in the Philippines, Celdran’s act of carrying a whiteboard with words that offended priests and church goers during a gathering inside a church, would have been met with violent reactions.

Just imagine Celdran carrying a sign that said, “Pork is good eating!” inside a mosque?

And the thing is, behavior that is considered disrespectful by followers of one religion or another sometimes results in tragic killings.

In Paris, 12 people were killed at a cartoon magazine’s office.

Masked gunmen armed with AK-47s and shouting “Allahu Akbar” stormed the offices of a French satirical news magazine Wednesday in a terror attack that left 12 people dead, including the editor and two police officers.

The suspects shot dead one of the officers on the street as they fled — escaping first in a black Citroen that they abandoned after a crash, and then in a sedan they carjacked from a bystander.

There was no verified claim of responsibility or motive for the ambush, but the target, a weekly publication called Charlie Hebdo, has published cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad and was firebombed three years ago.

Prosecutors said two gunmen wearing balaclavas arrived at the building in a black Citroen C3 and killed a maintenance worker on the way in before heading to the third-floor editorial offices of the magazine. There, they shot dead eight journalists, a guest and a police officer who had been assigned to protect workers.

“Hey! We avenged the Prophet Muhammad! We killed Charlie Hebdo,” one of the men shouted in French, according to one video shot from a nearby building and broadcast on French TV.

 In another video, shouts of “Allahu Akbar” — or “God is great” — can be heard as the shootings took place. The Associated Press reported that the gunmen spoke flawless, unaccented French.

All in all, I guess Celdran going to jail in the Philippines for offending religious feelings is nothing compared to what happened to those people killed in Paris.

buttsexIf at all, Celdran can actually see it as a big plus for his career as a performance artist as he grabs the limelight once again and actually gets immortalized in a Supreme Court decision, if ever his case merits the SC’s attention.

Moreover, Celdran might also use his time in jail to minister to all the inmates there about the benefits of using condoms and maybe even convert the whole lot of them to his “free thinking” philosophy.

Just think of that!

20 Replies to “Carlos Celdran Goes To Jail”

  1. Celdran doesn’t need to be afraid; it’s just a year in the slammer.

    Besides, from what I’ve heard about Philippine jails these days, they’re practically hotel luxury suites.

  2. While I’m also not a fan of Celdran myself, I think this law is stupid. What happened to separation of church and state? US also has freedom of religion but they don’t put people like Bill Maher in jail.

    1. I think it has to do more with WHERE he did it rather than WHAT he said. he did it INSIDE church premises (which I believe is private property), of which the Catholic Church has jurisdiction over.

      Now it would be all well and good if he did it OUTSIDE church premises, but he basically trespassed into someone else’s business and did something contradictory to what the owner wanted.

      To rephrase a quote in a previous article, your right to punch me with your fist ends with where my nose begins.

  3. I think the argument that “X is nothing compared to Y” is quite often used to dismiss, invalidate, or minimize X. Carlos Celdran going to jail is not nothing, and the Charlie Hebdo slayings are a poor comparison.

  4. very very bad comparison to Paris Mr. Farol.

    And for a number of reason.

    1. As in the case of Celdran, Charlie Hebdo was not physical agressive. But; Celdran was on some one else ground, the Charlie Hebdo staff was on their own ground.

    2. Islam are in fact in a self declared war with “rest” i.e. the non belivers. This has going on for 1.400 years.

    3. Mind you from where this particuler originated: Danish writer Kaere Blutigen had writen first the quran and then the suna (life of Muhammed) in a child version. He wanted his work illustratede with cartoons. All cartoonist refused. It appeared that this was out of fear, then Danish newspaper Jylland Posten (by Flemming Rose) had them made and publihsed. Months later imams used the cartoons to make up the so called “cartoon crisis”.

    … and this can be as long as…


    You almost put you self as low as swedish “journalist” Alice Petrén, who on the Charlie Hebdo victims statede: They where not innocent, but trouble mongers. Later she retracted “innocent”…

    But I think you do so out of lack of knowledge on the topic “islam”, so I suggest you start inform your self. Start her:

    And lack off knowledge on the topic islamic immigration into the west. Start her:

  5. He is one of the reasons Philippines is doomed. He seems to hunger popularity perks just like his two companions in the photos.

  6. The God I choose to believe in can’t be harmed by words on a placard or even a throng of non-believers shouting insults at Him.
    I would be in agreement with that notion but the problem is not really God being harmed but what the followers/believers’ reaction on the perceived offense against their God. In all the troubles in the world that relates to religion, god has no direct participation in it. None. It’s all about the followers, the blinded faithfuls, the fanatics, the deer-in-the-headlight believers. It’s all about the people who invented religion in the first place.

  7. Oh well. People must come to realize that ‘rabble-rousing” and shameless harangue just to get that 15GB of fame isn’t going to work anymore. Sometimes I am puzzled how “activists” would allow themselves to be blinded by a strong sense of entitlement that they do things that defy the prevailing law — just like the previous Greenpeace fiasco — so ironic how they contribute to a system where the laws can be ignored and expect that they can get away with it.

  8. Jose Roco has a point. Art. 133 has nothing to do with free speech. It protects people from actions that obstruct them from observing their beliefs. If a person were actually doing things like disrupt a religious ceremony, make noise at such or or just do something similar, then they are the ones demonstrating intolerance and disrespect for others. That’s the point I tried to make here. But I agree, it could perhaps be reworded for today’s times.

  9. Maybe Celdran has strong points on his belief in RH bill. I myself believe that the RH bill can help reduce the unnecessary growth in our population. Sad to say, he expressed his sentiments in the wrong venue. He goes beyond his limits in expressing his opposition against our Church involvement in our politics.
    For a nation with a majority number of Catholics, this is really unacceptable. He can dissed the Bishop and Priest but not inside the Church which is considered sacred for its believers.
    Also, we cannot disregard the fact that Pres. Aquino is a Catholic.

  10. It is the reason, I don’t believe in Organized Religion. You jail or murder the fellow, who disagrees or “blasphemes” your religion.

    I don’t believe a loving God, would do that: murdering, killing, jailing , people who offends Him…

  11. Well, as I recall in the last 24 hours, you can get mowed down by an AK47 for being religiously offensive. So, I think Carlos is still in a better position than those unfortunate souls. Unfortunately, as much as I sympathize with him, we should learn that Philippine authorities, whether in government or religious organizations, feel that they should subjugate freedom of speech to their status in society. Rather, people in this country are not allowed the liberal freedom to point out mistakes of so called leaders. Just look at the SC approved cyber law that prevents such expression criticising politicians. Is it any surprise then that Carlos is also given such treatment? On the other hand, the CBCP and cohorts have promoted the visit of Pope Francis as the next best thing that could ever happen to the country to the (silent) detriment of other minor religions and sects.

  12. ‘Freedom of speech’ is not absolute. But the one dividing line that has been examined in the courts where the issue was ruled on cited that the restricted parameter’s are where to do such a thing presents a clear and present danger of injury or death to those within earshot(hearing range) of the utterances.In other words, YOU CAN’T YELL “FIRE !” IN A CROWDED MOVIE THEATRE.

    Although I care not for Mr.Celdran and his idiocies (that moronic Hat, for instance), he has a point and if he is in jail, he should be released immediately.

      1. @ ChinoF if he yelled ‘FIRE’ in a crowded movie theatre, let him rot. IDK what he did, but freedom of speech,as I stated above, should only be excluded on the grounds I cited. The decision I referred to was made by Oliver Wendell Holmes who was a U.S. Supreme court justice and the exact case escapes me at the moment and I care not to look it up.

  13. Society is produced by our wants, and government and the church by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

  14. As much as I support Mr. Celdran’s stance about the RH Bill, I also firmly believe there are formal avenues to express our sentiments. Barging into a church WILL cause a ruckus, alarm and scandal, pretty much like how joking about a bomb nowadays can quickly land one behind bars. A mass demonstration will probably make things more apparent to our policy makers.

    He did what he did because he probably didn’t count on being jailed. But what if he was to do what he did in a mosque in a conservative Muslim country, where he could just be mowed down by automatic gunfire? I don’t think he could’ve made it out the front door.

    Let’s face it, society nowadays is too complex and stubborn to be spurred into his intended direction. If freethinkers are to have themselves taken seriously in a deeply conservative, mostly Catholic / Christian country, they have to ditch the militancy because right now, the sheer numbers will wipe them out before they can say “Socrates”.

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