September 21, 2023

Epic Law

The Law Folks

Separation of Church and State in the Philippines

According to the present Philippine Constitution’s Article 3, 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.”

This is to say that the government cannot implement laws concerning the religious practices over the people they govern, but shouldn’t it be also applied the other way around?

The Philippines has always had a very religious population. Throughout the history of our country, countless religious figures held great roles in driving the political direction of our elected leaders. A few examples would be the induction of the former president Joseph Estrada and his ousting with the EDSA 2 revolution where leaders from El Shaddai and the Catholic Church urged the people’s decision on who to put in the seat of power.

I have no qualm against religion as I’m a devout Catholic myself. I believe that the church is needed for the spiritual guidance of the people but should leave the matters of the state to its officials. Like in a post in Teodorico Haresco’s website, it’s nothing personal but today, some clergymen still try to maintain that “power” by rallying the faithful to bring down Government. If our 7400 priests instead generate jobs each instead of playing the political game then by all mean let them lead the way. This would mean creating more livelihoods for the millions in the country that have none.

The problem with this blurred line between the powers is that they lie in different realms but overstepping their boundaries when it comes to critical matters making the decisions based less on logic which matters when it comes to results. Religion is about the divine and is beyond human comprehension but politics is about being human and deciding matters that affect us. Let religion guide our conscience but not let it be the basis for the decision. When it comes to governing a country then that’s what it means to separate the church and the state.