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Church-State separation doctrine not breached – Roque






Presidential spokesman Harry Roque is convinced that the most recent pastoral letter of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) did not violate the doctrine of the Separation of Church and State.
Roque clarified this after Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo accused the CBCP of violating the said doctrine for using its religious influence to pressure the Supreme Court (SC) to decide against the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.

In his Monday press briefing, Roque, citing his expertise on constitutional law, said the Constitution only specified two precepts under the Separation of Church and State article.

“Ang separation po ay dalawang bagay—Yung non-establishment, ibig sabihin hindi magbibigay ng pabor ang Estado sa kahit anong pananampalataya; at tsaka yung,” he said.

Roque taught constitutional law at the University of the Philippines College of Law (UP-Law) for 15 years.

On Sunday, Panelo wrote in his statement that CBCP’s act could be considered as a violation of the doctrine of the Separation of Church and State as mandated by the Constitution under Section 6 the article of the same name.

He took note of CBCP’s question: “Will the highest level of our Judiciary assert its independence, or will they, too, succumb to political pressure?”, in particular.

“Such advocacy, coupled with its call to its faithful followers to prayer, effectively exerts religious influence or pressure on the Supreme Court to decide against a national law designed to combat the global crime of terrorism and to secure the safety of the Filipino people,” he said.

President Duterte signed the controversial measure last month despite calls to junk it due to provisions that are supposedly prone to abuse by law enforcers.

Malacañang has repeatedly explained that the new law has safeguards and that the public’s right to free speech and right to hold protests are still guaranteed by the Constitution. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)

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Written by Tempo Desk

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