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How Religious Freedom can prevail over State Authority: The landmark case of Estrada v. Escritor JUDGE MARIA ELISA S. DIY.

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Presentation on theme: "How Religious Freedom can prevail over State Authority: The landmark case of Estrada v. Escritor JUDGE MARIA ELISA S. DIY."— Presentation transcript:

1 How Religious Freedom can prevail over State Authority: The landmark case of Estrada v. Escritor JUDGE MARIA ELISA S. DIY

2 1987 Philippine Constitution Section 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

3 1987 Philippine Constitution Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.

4 The Family Code of the Philippines Article 1. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code.

5 Estrada vs. Escritor (A.M. No. P August 4, 2003 & June 22, 2006) (A.M. No. P August 4, 2003 & June 22, 2006) Created a glorious impact in the necessary balance between State Authority and Freedom of Religion Created a glorious impact in the necessary balance between State Authority and Freedom of Religion Foreseen that this precedent shall pave the way for stronger emphasis and respect for Religious Freedom Foreseen that this precedent shall pave the way for stronger emphasis and respect for Religious Freedom

6 Re: Estrada vs. Escritor DECLARATION OF PLEDGING FAITHFULNESS I, Soledad S. Escritor, do hereby declare that I have accepted Luciano D. Quilapio, Jr., as my mate in marital relationship; that I have done all within my ability to obtain legal recognition of this relationship by the proper public authorities and that it is because of having been unable to do so that I therefore make this public declaration pledging faithfulness in this marital relationship. I recognize this relationship as a binding tie before 'Jehovah' God and before all persons to be held to and honored in full accord with the principles of God's Word. I will continue to seek the means to obtain legal recognition of this relationship by the civil authorities and if at any future time a change in circumstances make this possible, I promise to legalize this union. Signed this 28th day of July 1991.

7 Re: Estrada vs. Escritor Escritor's partner, Quilapio, executed a similar pledge on the same day. Escritor's partner, Quilapio, executed a similar pledge on the same day. Both pledges were executed in Atimonan, Quezon and signed by three witnesses. Both pledges were executed in Atimonan, Quezon and signed by three witnesses. At the time Escritor executed her pledge, her husband was still alive but living with another woman. At the time Escritor executed her pledge, her husband was still alive but living with another woman. Quilapio was likewise married at that time, but had been separated in fact from his wife. Quilapio was likewise married at that time, but had been separated in fact from his wife.

8 Re: Estrada vs. Escritor Issue: Whether or not respondent should be found guilty of the administrative charge of “gross and immoral conduct”. Sub-issue: Whether or not respondent's right to religious freedom should carve out an exception from the prevailing jurisprudence on illicit relations for which government employees are held administratively liable.

9 Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause Found in Section 5, Article III of the 1987 Constitution Found in Section 5, Article III of the 1987 Constitution Philippine Jurisprudence Revisited 1) Aglipay v. Ruiz > Religion, defined 2) Gerona v. Sec. of Education > Interpreting the free exercise clause

10 Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause Philippine Jurisprudence Revisited 3) American Bible Society v. City of Manila > Religious Speech; right to disseminate religious information > Religious Speech; right to disseminate religious information 4) Tolentino v. Sec. of Finance > Tax imposed on sale of religious materials > Tax imposed on sale of religious materials 5) Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers Union > Establishment Clause > Establishment Clause

11 Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause Tests in determining when religious freedom may be validly limited: 1) “Immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community” and “infringement of religious freedom only to the smallest extent necessary” 2) Religious exercise may be indirectly burdened by a general law which has for its purpose and effect the advancement of the state’s secular goals, provided that there is no other means by which the state can accomplish this purpose without imposing such burden 3) The “compelling state interest” test which grants exemptions when general laws conflict with religious exercise, unless a compelling state interest intervenes

12 Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause Philippine Jurisprudence Revisited 6) J.B.L. Reyes v. Bagatsing > Freedom of worship in relation to freedom of expression, speech, and peaceable assembly > Freedom of worship in relation to freedom of expression, speech, and peaceable assembly 7) Ebralinag v. Division Superintendent of Schools > Exemption from the flag ceremony > Exemption from the flag ceremony

13 Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause Philippine Jurisprudence Revisited 8) Iglesia ni Cristo v. Court of Appeals > The “clear and present danger” test > The “clear and present danger” test 9) Pamil v. Teleron, et al. > Disqualifying ecclesiastics from appointment or election > Disqualifying ecclesiastics from appointment or election 10) Fonacier v. Court of Appeals > Right of control over certain properties > Right of control over certain properties

14 Free Exercise Clause and Establishment Clause The case survey in Estrada demonstrated two main standards used by the court in deciding religious clause cases: The case survey in Estrada demonstrated two main standards used by the court in deciding religious clause cases: 1) Strict Neutrality 2) Benevolent Neutrality

15 Strict Neutrality vs. Benevolent Neutrality STRICT NEUTRALITY Otherwise known as separation, strict or tame Otherwise known as separation, strict or tame The weight of current authority, judicial and in terms of sheer volume, appears to lie with the separationists The weight of current authority, judicial and in terms of sheer volume, appears to lie with the separationists Protects the principle of church-state separation with a rigid reading of the principle Protects the principle of church-state separation with a rigid reading of the principle

16 Strict Neutrality vs. Benevolent Neutrality BENEVOLENT NEUTRALITY Protects religious realities, tradition and established practice with a flexible reading of the principle Protects religious realities, tradition and established practice with a flexible reading of the principle Suggesting a preference for accommodating over inhibiting religion Suggesting a preference for accommodating over inhibiting religion Congruent with the sociological proposition that religion serves a function essential to the survival of society itself Congruent with the sociological proposition that religion serves a function essential to the survival of society itself Thus, there is no human society without one or more ways of performing the essential function of religion Thus, there is no human society without one or more ways of performing the essential function of religion

17 Benevolent Neutrality Philippine jurisdiction adopts the benevolent neutrality approach Philippine jurisdiction adopts the benevolent neutrality approach Constitutional history and interpretation indubitably show benevolent neutrality as the launching pad from which the Court should take off in interpreting religion clause cases Constitutional history and interpretation indubitably show benevolent neutrality as the launching pad from which the Court should take off in interpreting religion clause cases

18 Benevolent Neutrality This approach is directed in the protection of religious liberty not only for a minority, however small, not only for a minority, however small, not only for a majority, however large, not only for a majority, however large, but for each of us to the greatest extent possible within flexible constitutional limits.

19 Benevolent Neutrality The Supreme Court subjected the claim of religious freedom to the The Supreme Court subjected the claim of religious freedom to the “Compelling State Interest” Test 1) The first inquiry is whether respondent's right to religious freedom has been burdened 2) The second step is to ascertain respondent's sincerity in her religious belief

20 Re: Estrada vs. Escritor Escritor’s conjugal arrangement cannot be penalized as she has made out a case for exemption from the law based on her fundamental right to freedom of religion. Escritor’s conjugal arrangement cannot be penalized as she has made out a case for exemption from the law based on her fundamental right to freedom of religion. The Court recognizes that state interests must be upheld in order that freedoms - including religious freedom - may be enjoyed. In the area of religious exercise as a preferred freedom, In the absence of a showing that such state interest exists, man must be allowed to subscribe to the Infinite. The Court recognizes that state interests must be upheld in order that freedoms - including religious freedom - may be enjoyed. In the area of religious exercise as a preferred freedom, In the absence of a showing that such state interest exists, man must be allowed to subscribe to the Infinite.

21 Re: Estrada vs. Escritor Both criminal and administrative complaints against Soledad Escritor were DISMISSED. Both criminal and administrative complaints against Soledad Escritor were DISMISSED.

22 EPILOGUE The Constitution focuses on the “family” as the basic autonomous social institution, and not on “marriage” which is merely a statutory concept. Similarly, a statutory concept cannot prevail over a fundamental right under the Constitution, more particularly the Freedom of Religion.

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