Monday, August 15, 2011

Article 133 and 201 in this modern and digital world

August 9, 2011- Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 4, it’s another day for Carlos Celdran, a Manila tour guide, Cultural activist and a performing artist and the fifth time to be in this place since the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines filed a complaint against him for allegedly “offending religious feelings” last September 30, 2010 which was at around 8 p.m. the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) filed charges against Celdran for alledgely "offending feelings of the faithful," which is prohibited according to Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code. Article 133: Offending the religious feelings."The penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its minimum period shall be imposed upon anyone who, in a place devoted to religious worship or during the celebration of any religious ceremony, shall perform acts notoriously offensive to the feelings of the faithful."

Like a usual ceremony, Carlos and his supporters were met at Starbucks SM Manila then headed to the court at 1:30 in the afternoon. Still and always clad with a derby hat which is the same hat design he wore when he protested last September 30, 2010. Last time, CBCP even brought a witness and described what she saw as “the man with a out of this world suit.”  According to the internet news, Carlos Celdran staged a protest action against Church opposition to the reproductive health bill. Dressed as José Rizal or Crisostomo Ibarra, Celdran entered Manila Cathedral during an Ecumenical mass with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Edward Adams, and other bishops, priests, catholics and even different religious organizations present, standing before the altar with a sign with the word "DAMASO" -a reference to the villainous, power-wielding clergyman from Rizal's novel Noli Me Tángere, who fathered a child and in  which touches on the abuses of the Spanish friars during the 19th century. He shouted "Stop getting involved in politics!" before he was taken away by the police at around 4:30 p.m. Once outside, Celdran said the Church officials "need to hear what the Filipinos are saying: that 90 percent of the people want the RH [Reproductive Health Bill]."

Because CBCP doesn’t have any present representative, the court hearing is reset to this coming September 14, 2011. With a lot of issues that the government is facing today like the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) scandal, The CBCP SUV expose, The Ampatuan massacre, Meralco price increase, Toll fee gigantic increase, Climate change, Attack in London, Corruption, Second Hand helicopters and more much disturbing and important issues locally and around the globe, what will be the benefit and moral lesson with this kind of case like Carlos? Does the CBCP have more important things to do like saving the life of the faithful who are still living in poverty and in their own backyard as squatters?

photo from the internet

 In case of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) which is known for showing the highest standards in terms of arts, the first controversy for this decade was came from a simple but powerful art exhibit from Mideo Cruz. Called as blasphemous and the most controversial art in the Philippine scene, a lot of people are arguing and have a never ending debates about the freedom of expression and what really constitutes the word moral.

In the Philippines with more or less 80% are Roman Catholic, the images of Jesus Christ and his mother Mary are treated with respect. That is the influenced of the Spanish regime for almost 400 years of occupying the Philippines.

A little background from the internet about the location of the controversial exhibit. The purpose of the CCP aims to showcase Filipino artistic achievements as well as inspire to create original works with Filipino themes and tradition that will help make the arts accessible to all sectors of Philippine society. It cooperates with local groups in initiating and supporting the regional and local cultural centers through outreach programs. It also covers film and broadcast arts and literary and visual arts to encourage growth and development of arts in the country. It gives workshops and seminars as well as anthologies, exhibits symposia, competition and awards.

photo from the internet

As of today, the exhibit has been closed due to threats and a request or more so a direct message from malacanang to close the exhibit not to mention the visit of the former first lady who is also the founder of CCP which gave her final verdict for the art as preposterous!. Politeismo is part of the 32 exhibits by the University of Sto Tomas in celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. It cause steers to the majority of the public eyes because of the absurd presentation of the portrait of Jesus Christ with a male organ attached to it’s face. Right now the CCP Visual Arts Division director Karen Flores resigned, this is after the closure of the exhibit. Let us check some laws in which the CCP officials and the artist are allegedly violated.

photo from the internet

Article. 201. Immoral doctrines, obscene publications and exhibitions and indecent shows. — The penalty of prison mayor or a fine ranging from six thousand to twelve thousand pesos, or both such imprisonment and fine, shall be imposed upon:
(1) Those who shall publicly expound or proclaim doctrines openly contrary to public morals;
(2) (a) the authors of obscene literature, published with their knowledge in any form; the editors publishing such literature; and the owners/operators of the establishment selling the same;
(b) Those who, in theaters, fairs, cinematographs or any other place, exhibit, indecent or immoral plays, scenes, acts or shows, whether live or in film, which are prescribed by virtue hereof, shall include those which (1) glorify criminals or condone crimes; (2) serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence, lust or pornography; (3) offend any race or religion; (4) tend to abet traffic in and use of prohibited drugs; and (5) are contrary to law, public order, morals, and good customs, established policies, lawful orders, decrees and edicts;
(3) Those who shall sell, give away or exhibit films, prints, engravings, sculpture or literature which are offensive to morals. (As amended by PD Nos. 960 and 969).
Mideo Cruz is an atheist according to his friend. According to Wikipedia, Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.
The term atheism originated from the Greek ἄθεος (atheos), meaning "without god", which was applied with a negative connotation to those thought to reject the gods worshipped by the larger society. With the spread of freethought, skeptical inquiry, and subsequent increase in criticism of religion, application of the term narrowed in scope. The first individuals to identify themselves as "atheist" appeared in the 18th century.

photo from the internet

From the exhibit of Mideo, was it an expression which from him is based on the Philippine culture or just a plain attack of religion? As an atheist who doesn’t believe to any god, does he do it to provoked the faithfuls or just a plain scrap from waste? For many, an art is something that tells a story, so what really is behind Mideos mind? In that part only him could tell.

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