Bishops 'forgive' jailed activist
Case will not be pursued against anti-RH Bill campaigner
ucanews.com reporter, Manila
January 30, 2013
The Archdiocese of Manila on Wednesday confirmed that it is not pursuing a criminal case against an anti-RH Bill activist who was sentenced to serve time in jail by a local court for "offending religious feelings."
Peachy Yamsuan, head of the Archdiocese of Manila’s Office of Communications, said the archdiocese is not pursuing the case against Carlos Celdran upon the instruction of former Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales of Manila.
"While deeply disturbed by the incident, Cardinal Rosales gave instructions for the archdiocese to no longer pursue the case," Yamsuan said, adding that the case is being pursued by the state through the public prosecutor's office.
Yamsuan said Cardinal Rosales has long forgiven Celdran and how the case proceeds is up to the courts and not the archdiocese.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines also issued a statement on Tuesday saying it has forgiven Celdran.
Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, president of the bishops' conference, however, said the bishops respect the decision of the court.
"We respect the processes of the court and more than anything else love should prevail, and we have already learned our lesson in the process. Respect should be given to every religion,” Palma said.
Celdran, a tour guide at the colonial fort in Manila, is a vocal critic of the Catholic bishops' stand against the reproductive health law that allows the use of contraceptives to curb the rising population.
He was found guilty on Monday by the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court for disrupting an ecumenical service in September 2010 in protest against the Catholic Church's stand on the then Reproductive Health Bill.
The court handed down an indeterminate sentence of at least two months and 21 days up to a maximum of 13 months and 11 days imprisonment.
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