Case digest- freedom of religion
Constitutional 2 case digest...
Aglipay vs. Ruiz [G.R. No. 45459, March 13, 1937] Facts: Petitioner seeks the issuance of a writ of prohibition against respondent Director of Posts from issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the 33 rd International Eucharistic Congress. Petitioner contends that such act is a violation of the Constitutional provision stating that no public funds shall be appropriated or used in the benefit of any church, system of religion, etc. This provision is a result of the principle of the separation of church and state, for the purpose of avoiding the occasion wherein the state will use the church, or vice versa, as a weapon to further their ends and aims. Respondent contends that such issuance is in accordance to Act No. 4052, providing for the appropriation funds to respondent for the production and issuance of postage stamps as would be advantageous to the government. Issue: Whether or Not there was a violation of the freedom to religion. Held: What is guaranteed by our Constitution is religious freedom and not mere religious toleration. It is however not an inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is not a denial of its influence inhuman affairs. Religion as a profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator is recognized. And in so far as it instills into the minds the purest principles of morality, its influence is deeply felt and highly appreciated. The phrase in Act No. 4052―advantageous to the government‖ does not authorize violation of the Constitution. The issuance of the stamps was not inspired by any feeling to favor a particular church or religious denomination. They were not sold for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church. The postage stamps, instead of showing a Catholic chalice as originally planned, contains a map of the Philippines and the location of Manila, with the words ―Seat XXXIII International Eucharistic Congress. The focus of the stamps was not the Eucharistic Congress but the city of Manila, being the seat of that congress. This was to ―to advertise the Philippines and attract more tourists, the officials merely took advantage of an event considered of international importance. Although such issuance and sale may be inseparably linked with the Roman Catholic Church, any benefit and propaganda incidentally resulting from it was no the aim or purpose of the Government.
Garces vs. Estenzo [G.R. No. L-53487, May 25, 1981] Facts: Two resolutions of the Barangay Council of Valencia, Ormoc City were passed a. Resolution No. 5- Reviving the traditional socio-religious celebration every fifth of April. This provided for the acquisition of the image of San Vicente Ferrer and the construction of a waiting shed. Funds for the said projects will be obtained through the selling of tickets and cash donations. b. Resolution No. 6- The chairman or hermano mayor of the fiesta would be the caretaker of the image of San Vicente Ferrer and that the image would remain in his residence for one year and until the election of his successor. The image would be made available to the Catholic Church during the celebration of the saint‘s feast day. These resolutions have been ratified by 272 voters, and said projects were implemented. The image was temporarily placed in the altar of the Catholic Church of the barangay. However, after a mass, Father Sergio Marilao Osmeña refused to return the image to the barangay council, as it was the church‘s property since church funds were used in its acquisition. Resolution No. 10 was passed for the authorization of hiring a lawyer for the replevin case against the priest for the recovery of the image. Resolution No. 12 appointed Brgy. CaptainVeloso as a representative to the case. The priest, in his answer assailed the constitutionality of the said resolutions. The priest with Andres Garces, a member of the Aglipayan Church, contends that Sec. 8 Article IV and Sec 18(2) Article VIII) of the constitution was violated. Issue: Whether or Not any freedom of religion clause in the Constitution violated. Held: No. As said by the Court this case is a petty quarrel over the custody of the image. The image was purchased in connection with the celebration of the barrio fiesta and not for the purpose of favoring any religion nor interfering with religious matters or beliefs of the barrio residents. Any activity intended to facilitate the worship of the patron saint(such as the acquisition) is not illegal. Practically, the image was placed in a layman‘s custody so that it could easily be made available to any family desiring to borrow the image in connection with prayers and novena. It was the council‘s funds that were used to buy the image, therefore it is their
property. Right of the determination of custody is their right, and even if they decided to give it to the Church, there is no violation of the Constitution, since private funds were used. Not every government activity which involves the expenditure of public funds and which has some religious tint is violative of the constitutional provisions regarding separation of church and state, freedom of worship and banning the use of public money or property.
American Bible Society vs. City of Manila [G.R. No. L-9637, April 30, 1957] Facts: New York‘s Education Law requires local public school authorities to lend textbooks free of charge to all students in grade 7 to 12, including those in private schools. The Board of Education contended that said statute was invalid and violative of the State and Federal Constitutions. An order barring the Commissioner of Education (Allen) from removing appellant‘s members from office for failure to comply with the requirement and an order preventing the use of state funds for the purchase of textbooks to be lent to parochial schools were sought for. The trial court held the statute unconstitutional. The Appellate Division reversed the decision and dismissed the complaint since the appellant have no standing. The New York Court of Appeals, ruled that the appellants have standing but the law is not unconstitutional. Issue: Whether or Not the said ordinances are constitutional and valid (contention: it restrains the free exercise and enjoyment of the religious profession and worship of appellant). Held: Section 1, subsection (7) of Article III of the Constitution, provides that:(7) No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religion test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. The provision afore quoted is a constitutional guaranty of the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, which carries with it the right to disseminate religious information. It may be true that in the case at bar the price asked for the bibles and other religious pamphlets was in some instances a little bit
higher than the actual cost of the same but this cannot mean that appellant was engaged in the business or occupation of selling said "merchandise" for profit. For this reason. The Court believe that the provisions of City of Manila Ordinance No. 2529, as amended, cannot be applied to appellant, for in doing so it would impair its free exercise and enjoyment of its religious profession and worship as well as its rights of dissemination of religious beliefs With respect to Ordinance No. 3000, as amended, the Court do not find that it imposes any charge upon the enjoyment of a right granted by the Constitution, nor tax the exercise of religious practices.It seems clear, therefore, that Ordinance No. 3000 cannot be considered unconstitutional, however inapplicable to said business, trade or occupation of the plaintiff. As to Ordinance No.2529 of the City of Manila, as amended, is also not applicable, so defendant is powerless to license or tax the business of plaintiff Society. WHEREFORE, defendant shall return to plaintiff the sum of P5,891.45 unduly collected from it
Iglesia Ni Cristo vs. Court of Appeals [G.R. No. 119673, July 26, 1996] Facts: Petitioner has a television program entitled "Ang Iglesia ni Cristo" aired on Channel 2 every Saturday and on Channel 13 every Sunday. The program presents and propagates petitioner's religious beliefs, doctrines and practices often times in comparative studies with other religions. Petitioner submitted to the respondent Board of Review for Moving Pictures and Television the VTR tapes of its TV program Series Nos. 116, 119, 121 and 128. The Board classified the series as "X" or not for public viewing on the ground that they "offend and constitute an attack against other religions which is expressly prohibited by law." On November 28, 1992, it appealed to the Office of the President the classification of its TV Series No. 128 which allowed it through a letter of former Executive Secretary Edelmiro A. Amante, Sr., addressed for Henrietta S. Mendez reversing the decision of the respondent Board. According to the letter the episode in is protected by the constitutional guarantee of free speech and expression and no indication that the episode poses any clear and present danger. Petitioner also filed Civil Case. Petitioner alleged that the respondent Board acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in requiring petitioner to submit the VTR tapes of its TV program and in x-rating them. It cited its TV Program Series Nos. 115, 119, 121 and 128. In their Answer, respondent Board invoked its power under PD No.
19861 in relation to Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. The Iglesia ni Cristo insists on the literal translation of the bible and says that our (Catholic) veneration of the Virgin Mary is not to be condoned because nowhere it is found in the bible. The board contended that it outrages Catholic and Protestant's beliefs. RTC ruled in favor of petitioners. CA however reversed it hence this petition.
Issue: Whether or Not the "ang iglesia ni cristo" program is not constitutionally protected as a form of religious exercise and expression.
Held: Yes. Any act that restrains speech is accompanied with presumption of invalidity. It is the burden of the respondent Board to overthrow this presumption. If it fails to discharge this burden, its act of censorship will be struck down. This is true in this case. So-called "attacks" are mere criticisms of some of the deeply held dogmas and tenets of other religions. RTC’s ruling clearly suppresses petitioner's freedom of speech and interferes with its right to free exercise of religion. “attack” is different from “offend” any race or religion. The respondent Board may disagree with the criticisms of other religions by petitioner but that gives it no excuse to interdict such criticisms, however, unclean they may be. Under our constitutional scheme, it is not the task of the State to favor any religion by protecting it against an attack by another religion. Religious dogmas and beliefs are often at war and to preserve peace among their followers, especially the fanatics, the establishment clause of freedom of religion prohibits the State from leaning towards any religion. Respondent board cannot censor the speech of petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks other religions, even if said religion happens to be the most numerous church in our country. The basis of freedom of religion is freedom of thought and it is best served by encouraging the marketplace of dueling ideas. It is only where it is unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified, and only to the smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger. There is no showing whatsoever of the type of harm the tapes will bring about especially the gravity and imminence of the threatened harm. Prior restraint on speech, including religious speech, cannot be justified by hypothetical fears but
only by the showing of a substantive and imminent evil. It is inappropriate to apply the clear and present danger test to the case at bar because the issue involves the content of speech and not the time, place or manner of speech. Allegedly, unless the speech is first allowed, its impact cannot be measured, and the causal connection between the speech and the evil apprehended cannot be established. The determination of the question as to whether or not such vilification, exaggeration or fabrication falls within or lies outside the boundaries of protected speech or expression is a judicial function which cannot be arrogated by an administrative body such as a Board of Censors." A system of prior restraint may only be validly administered by judges and not left to administrative agencies.
Ebralinag vs. Division Superintendent of Cebu [G.R. No. 95770, March 1, 1993] Facts: Two special civil actions for certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition were filed and consolidated for raising same issue. Petitioners allege that the public respondents acted without or in excess of their jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion. Respondents ordered expulsion of 68 HS and GS students of Bantayan, Pinamungajan, Caracar, Taburan and Asturias in Cebu. Public school authorities expelled these students for refusing to salute the flag, sing the national anthem and recite the ―Panatang Makabayan required by RA1265. They are Jehovah‘s Witnesses believing that by doing these is religious worship/devotion akin to idolatry against their teachings. They contend that to compel transcends constitutional limits and invades protection against official control and religious freedom. The respondents relied on the precedence of Gerona et al v. Secretary of Education. Gerona doctrine provides that we are a system of separation of the church and state and the flag is devoid of religious significance and it doesn‘t involve any religious ceremony. The freedom of religious belief guaranteed by the Constitution does not mean exception from non-discriminatory laws like the saluting of flag and singing national anthem. This exemption disrupts school
discipline and demoralizes the teachings of civic consciousness and duties of citizenship. Issue: Whether or Not religious freedom has been violated. Held: Religious freedom is a fundamental right of highest priority. The 2 fold aspect of right to religious worship is: 1.) Freedom to believe which is an absolute act within the realm of thought. 2.)Freedom to act on one‘s belief regulated and translated to external acts. The only limitation to religious freedom is the existence of grave and present danger to public safety, morals, health and interests where State has right to prevent. The expulsion of the petitioners from the school is not justified. The 30 yr. old previous GERONA decision of expelling and dismissing students and teachers who refuse to obey RA1265 is violates exercise of freedom of speech and religious profession and worship. Jehovah‘s Witnesses may be exempted from observing the flag ceremony but this right does not give them the right to disrupt such ceremonies. In the case at bar, the students expelled were only standing quietly during ceremonies. By observing the ceremonies quietly, it doesn‘t present any danger so evil and imminent to justify their expulsion. What the petitioner‘s request is exemption from flag ceremonies and not exclusion from public schools. The expulsion of the students by reason of their religious beliefs is also a violation of a citizen‘s right to free education. The non-observance of the flag ceremony does not totally constitute ignorance of patriotism and civic consciousness. Love for country and admiration for national heroes, civic consciousness and form of government are part of the school curricula. Therefore, expulsion due to religious beliefs is unjustified. Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition is GRANTED. Expulsion is ANNULLED.
Estrada vs. Escritor [A.M. No. P-02-1651, August 4, 2003] Facts: Escritor is a court interpreter since 1999 in the RTC of Las Pinas City. She has been living with Quilapio, a man who is not her husband, for more than twenty five years and had a son with him as well. Respondent‘s husband died a year before she
entered into the judiciary while Quilapio is still legally married to another woman. Complainant Estrada requested the Judge of said RTC to investigate respondent. According to complainant, respondent should not be allowed to remain employed therein for it will appear as if the court allows such act. Respondent claims that their conjugal arrangement is permitted by her religion —the Jehovah‘s Witnesses and the Watch Tower and the Bible Trace Society. They allegedly have a Declaration of Pledging Faithfulness‘ under the approval of their congregation. Such a declaration is effective when legal impediments render it impossible for a couple to legalize their union. Issue: Whether or Not the State could penalize respondent for such conjugal arrangement. Held: No. The State could not penalize respondent for she is exercising her right to freedom of religion. The free exercise of religion is specifically articulated as one of the fundamental rights in our Constitution. As Jefferson put it, it is the most inalienable and sacred of human rights. The State‘s interest in enforcing its prohibition cannot be merely abstract or symbolic in order to be sufficiently compelling to outweigh a free exercise claim. In the case at bar, the State has not evinced any concrete interest in enforcing the concubinage or bigamy charges against respondent or her partner. Thus the State‘s interest only amounts to the symbolic preservation of an unenforced prohibition. Furthermore, a distinction between public and secular morality and religious morality should be kept in mind. The jurisdiction of the Court extends only to public and secular morality. The Court further states that our Constitution adheres the benevolent neutrality approach that gives room for accommodation of religious exercises as required by the Free Exercise Clause. This benevolent neutrality could allow for accommodation of morality based on religion, provided it does not offend compelling state interests. Assuming arguendo that the OSG has proved a compelling state interest, it has to further demonstrate that the state has used the least intrusive means possible so that the free exercise is not infringed any more than necessary to achieve the legitimate goal of the state. Thus the conjugal arrangement cannot be penalized for it constitutes an exemption to the law based on her right to freedom of religion.
German vs. Barangan, 135 SCRA 514  Facts: Petitioners converged at J.P. Laurel Street to hear Mass at the St. Jude Chapel, which adjoined Malacañang. Respondent barred them for security reasons. Petitioners filed a petition for mandamus. Issue: Whether or Not there was a violation of the constitutional freedom. Held: Petitioners' intention was not really to perform an act of religious worship but to conduct an anti-government demonstration since they wore yellow T-shirts, raised their clenched fists and shouted anti- government slogans. While every citizen has the right to religious freedom, the exercise must be done in good faith. Besides, the restriction was reasonable as it was designed to protect the lives of the President and his family, government officials and diplomatic and foreign guests transacting business with Malacanang. The restriction was also intended to secure the executive offices within the Malacanang grounds from possible external attacks and disturbances. (Minority opinion) The sole justification for a prior restraint or limitation on the exercise of the freedom of religion is the existence of a grave and imminent, of a serious evil to public safety, public morals, public health or any other legitimate public interest that the State has a right to prevent. The burden to show the existence of grave and imminent danger lies on the officials who would restrain petitioners. Respondents were in full control and had the capability to stop any untoward move. There was no clear and present danger of any serious evil to public safety or the security of Malacanang.
Islamic Da'wah Council of the Philippines vs. Executive Secretary, GR No.153888, 9 July 2003 Facts: Petitioner Islamic Da'wah Council of the Philippines, Inc. (IDCP) is a corporation that operates under Department of Social Welfare and Development, a nongovernmental organization that extends voluntary services to the Filipino people, especially to Muslim communities. It claims to be a federation of national Islamic organizations and an active member of international organizations such as the
Regional Islamic Da'wah Council of Southeast Asia and the Pacific(RISEAP) and The World Assembly of Muslim Youth. The RISEAP accredited petitioner to issue halal certifications in the Philippines. Thus, among the functions petitioner carries out is to conduct seminars, orient manufacturers on halal food and issue halal certifications to qualified products and manufacturers. Petitioner alleges that, the actual need to certify food products as halal and also due to halal food producers' request, petitioner formulated in 1995 internal rules and procedures based on theQur'an and the Sunnah for the analysis of food, inspection thereof and issuance of halal certifications. In that same year, petitioner began to issue, for a fee, certifications to qualified products and food manufacturers. Petitioner even adopted for use on its halal certificates a distinct sign or logo registered in the Philippine Patent Office. On 2001, respondent Office of the Executive Secretary issued EO 465 creating the Philippine Halal Certification Scheme and designating respondent OMA to oversee its implementation. Under the EO, respondent OMA has the exclusive authority to issue halal certificates and perform other related regulatory activities. Issue: Whether or Not EO violates the constitutional provision on the separation of Church and State. Held: It is unconstitutional for the government to formulate policies and guidelines on the halal certification scheme because said scheme is a function only religious organizations, entity or scholars can lawfully and validly perform for the Muslims. According to petitioner, a food product becomes halal only after the performance of Islamic religious ritual and prayer. Thus, only practicing Muslims are qualified to slaughter animals for food. A government agency like herein respondent OMA cannot therefore perform a religious function like certifying qualified food products as halal. Without doubt, classifying a food product as halal is a religious function because the standards used are drawn from the Qur'an and Islamic beliefs. By giving OMA the exclusive power to classify food products as halal, EO 46 encroached on the religious freedom of Muslim organizations like herein petitioner to interpret for Filipino Muslims what food products are fit for Muslim consumption. Also, by arrogating to itself the task of issuing halal certifications, the State has in effect forced Muslims to accept its own interpretation of the Qur'an and Sunnah on halal food. In the case at bar, we find no compelling justification for the government to deprive Muslim organizations, like herein petitioner, of their
religious right to classify a product as halal, even on the premise that the health of Muslim Filipinos can be effectively protected by assigning to OMA the exclusive power to issue halal certifications. The protection and promotion of the muslim Filipinos' right to health are already provided for in existing laws and ministered to by government agencies charged with ensuring that food products released in the market are fit for human consumption, properly labeled and safe. Unlike EO 46, these laws do not encroach on the religious freedom of Muslims.