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Neil Don M.

TTh 6:30 8:00
Philippine Foreign Policy

September 8, 2015
Reaction Paper
Atty. Dianne Junasa

First and foremost, I want to say that the things that I will say from this point forward are
not directed towards the members of INC community but to the high-ranking officials of the said
community. The concept of freedom of religion is being practiced in the Philippines for more
than one century with the Malolos Constitution serving as the stepping stone for such concept
but this comes with issues every now and then. Just recently, an Administrative-Religious war
between the government and INC emerged. The protest organized by their executive ministers is
a completely devoid from rational thinking. The INC members themselves were drag into this
mess by the church leaders without having full understanding of what is really happening.
Their church leaders manipulated them for their own personal gain knowing that they will
follow their orders in the name of their God.
It is imperative that we look into the root cause of this problem. Based on the news
articles that I have read, the INC community was protesting because Justice Secretary Leila de
Lima in behalf of DOJ, allegedly received and looked into the complaint filled by the former
INC minister, Isaiah Samson, pertaining to the illegal detention of him and his family perpetrated
by other members of the INC community. And on top of that, they were also contesting that
Mas maraming isyu and dapat unahin. Huwag ang pakikialam sa amin! I can still recall the
interview broadcasted in national television wherein the reporter was asking an INC member
regarding the reasons why they were protesting and also asked what is his understanding of the
phrase separation of church and state and his answer was Hindi ko alam. Basta pinapunta
kami dito. (Non-verbatim). Obviously, their interpretation of the principle of separation of
church and state is founded on a very separatistic point of view. The church leaders who
perpetrated this protest wants to have an absolute separation between them and the larger
Filipino body under the rule of the Philippine government. They are demanding the DOJ to
throw out Samsons complaint and let matter rest where they are, and that is within the confined
of the INC temples which, in my opinion, will be very unjust for Samson and his family. To
make matters much simpler, it is in my understanding that behind all this cover ups, what they
are really protesting for is that their executive ministers, cannot be the subject of criminal
complaints or be subpoenaed or required to face a preliminary investigation. Meaning to say,

Samsons complaint should be under INCs jurisdiction and state laws shall not be applied. This
is just wrong on so many levels because ideally speaking, we, the Filipino people, are all equal in
the eyes of the law and no one, regardless of their status, shall be above it. Again, all of this is
based on their irrational understanding on the principle of separation of church and state. I,
myself, felt the rage of many Filipino commuters who were stuck in traffic because of the
nonsense protest that the eexecutive ministers of INC organized. One things for sure, the
executive ministers of the INC community has been and could become a nuisance in the
Philippines especially in the field of politics.
In more ways than one, we can say that we, the Filipino people and the constitution that
we uphold, won. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this obstacle, we, the Filipino
people, with respect to our constitution, will win through with triumph. In the actions that we
take, we will not only defend our rights but will make it very certain that any form of violation of
the constitution will never be tolerated. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our
constitution, and our interest are in grave danger. But with confidence in our government leaders
who are willing to risk their image and reputation in the name of law, with the unbounding
determination the greater Filipino community, and with the calculated response that we will take,
we will emerge victors in the fog of Administrative-Religious war and our fights against those
who will shackle our constitution.
Interpretation of the principle of separation of church and state
I am not a lawyer at any capacity and my interpretation of the constitution could be
biased, prejudiced, and limited. But for me the separation of Church and State is not absolute and
does not arise at all in this instance. In a nutshell, it means that the State will not and shall not
favor any particular religion and that anyone is allowed to believe and practice their own faith.
But with regards to the matters involving criminal law, the justice system must be allowed to
take its own calculated measures no matter who may be the perpetrators involved. This is to
ensure that human rights of every person, regardless of who they are or their status in the society,
will be preserved. Church officials who are charged by their own members with committing
crimes cannot expect the state to back off while they deal with these charges within their
organization. Prior to being members of their church, they were first citizens of this country and
thus, the rule of law of the state shall be observed at all times.