“Wherefore, premises considered, accused Carlos Celdran is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of Offending the Religious Feelings under Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code and applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, there being no mitigating and aggravating circumstance, he is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of two months and 21 days as minimum to one year, one month and 11 days…”
in fairness to celdran, there was a mitigating
and aggravating circumstance back then that drove him to take drastic action. two days before, september 28, the new prez spoke out unequivocally in favor of RH in a town hall meeting with expats in san francisco, earning the royal ire of the church. on the morning of september 30, newspapers and websites screamed the shocker that the CBCP was threatening the president with excommunication for being pro-choice and endorsing artificial contraceptives. that very afternoon celdran dramatized his outrage by staging his rizal-bearing-damaso-placard act in the manila cathedral.
the CBCP denied that excommunication threat the very next day but it’s not clear now whose mistake it was, the bishops’ or the reporters’, and the damage had been done.
it is worth noting, too, that the guilty ruling was issued as early as december 14 but kept under wraps until yesterday (how did the church swing that?). the house of reps had just passed the RH bll on second reading the day before, december 13, but the senate was dragging its feet and sotto had yet to deliver his may-I-ask-God-the-Father-to-forgive-us-for-we-do-not-know-what-we-are-doing huling hirit speech. perhaps the bishops were still hopeful that sotto could get the votes, and they didn’t want the celdran case messing up things.
the rest is history. the senate voted in favor of RH on december 18. theoretically, nothing to lose na ang church, but apparently they were able to put off the announcement of the ruling again, siguro papasko kay celdran, salamat naman, but what took them so long after the holidays? it’s practically the end of january.
i suppose cardinal tagle’s january 9 homily should have warned us that the CBCP is truly going all out to battle the RH law. though i’m not sure that showing an apologetic celdran no mercy is winning the church any points.