Petition Launched for "Carlos Celdran Bill"
After his death, Carlos Celdran might become a free man again. That is, if House Bill No. 5170 will pass into law.
Filed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, HB 5170 seeks to retroactively repeal the crime of offending religious feelings (Article 133) that was charged to the late performance artist. In 2010, Celdran was found guilty of blasphemy after staging an impromptu demonstration outside the Manila Cathedral. Dressed in a Jose Rizal costume, Celdran held up a sign that read "Damaso" to protest the Church's efforts to stop the Reproductive Health Bill.
According to Rappler, if HB 5170 was passed, it means that "all pending criminal cases and related civil cases for violation of Article 133 would be dismissed should HB 5170 become a law."
Celdran's supporters have also jumped into action by starting a Change.org petition to push the bill, which they've dubbed the "Carlos Celdran Bill," forward.
"We’re calling on the government to make the Carlos Celdran Bill HB 5170 a priority so that no one else will be a victim to this archaic law," reads the petition, which has over 2,678 digital signatures as of press time. "Uphold separation of church and state. Defend freedom of speech. Justice for Carlos Celdran!"
The petition also notes that Article 133 goes against freedom of speech and expression, rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution.
Earlier today, Celdran's widow, Tesa, also released a statement regarding her husband's death. She explained that Celdran was pronounced dead on October 8 at 4:07 a.m. of natural causes. The official cause is cardiac respiratory address but the full autopsy report will be available in a month. "He was always surrounded by friends, and he did not die alone," she wrote.