(UPDATED) Defense chief Gazmin: That is clearly an intrusion, a violation. They already entered our territory.
MANILA, Philippines - "You should know, Mr. Celdran, that not all Church teachings are just religious!"
In front of a stadium packed with college students at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus, activist and popular tour guide Carlos Celdran got a public scolding about Church teachings from senatorial candidate Rizalito David.
On Thursday, February 7, David lectured Celdran, who faces a jail sentence after he entered the Manila Cathedral in 2010 to protest the Church's opposition to the controversial reproductive health bill.
David, a sociopolitical analyst, is an avowed Catholic. He is running under the religious Ang Kapatiran party.
The debate heated up when Celdran, a panelist at the senatorial debate "Rundown 2013," emphasized the constitutional provision separating church and state, before asking candidates to give him a "non-religious or perfectly secular answer" on their thoughts regarding divorce.
The question was addressed to women's rights advocate and administration slate candidate Risa Hontiveros, Zambales 1st district Rep Mitos Magsaysay of the United Nationalist Alliance, and David.
David approached the microphone, visibly adamant about his perspective.
"For every reason that proves there should be divorce, there are 10 more reasons that prove otherwise. Let's just look at what's happening to America. Has it been good for them? Has divorce been beneficial to them? You answer that question," he told the audience.
He then related the question of divorce to the RH bill.
"There are more negative impact on youth and families in America. It's just like the RH (Reproductive Health issue). Let's just compare everything to America. If we do it here, will it be beneficial?," he asked.
He then turned to Celdran.
"Scientifically -- not religious -- you should know, Mr. Celdran, that the teachings of the Church are not just religious, or spiritual. A lot of the Church's teaching are based on empirical evidence. And that is what I hope to let him know!," he said.
The outburst sent the room abuzz.
Celdran turned to the audience with a shocked look on his face feigning offense, and soon tweeted, "Talo ang pikon (Sore losers finish last)."
He also posted on Facebook, "Risa Hontiveros was the only one who was pro-divorce. Mitos wants it to just get harder to get married. And Rizalito David was just a freak."
Later, when asked to answer another question, Hontiveros also addressed Celdran to express her support for him after the scolding.
"To what was said to you earlier, I want you to know, na-offend ang religious beliefs ko," she said, mocking the court decision against him.
Celdran disrupted a service at the Manila Cathedral on Sept 30, 2010 clad as the Filipino national hero Jose Rizal, and carrying a sign with the words “Damaso,” in reference to the villainous priest in Rizal’s famous novel "Noli Me Tangere." In January, he was found guilty of "offending religious feelings." - Rappler.com