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II.

SEPARATION BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND THE STATE


“The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.”
(Article II, Section 6)
A. History
Before our country fell under American rule, the blanket of Catholicism covered the
archipelago. There was a union of church and state and Catholicism was the state religion
under the Spanish Constitution of 1876. Civil authorities exercised religious functions and the
friars exercised civil powers. Catholics alone enjoyed the right of engaging in public ceremonies
of worship. Although the Spanish Constitution itself was not extended to the Philippines,
Catholicism was also the established church in our country under the Spanish rule. Catholicism
was in fact protected by the Spanish Penal Code of 1884 which was in effect in the
Philippines. Some of the offenses in chapter six of the Penal Code entitled “Crimes against
Religion and Worship” referred to crimes against the state religion. The coming of the
Americans to our country, however, changed this state-church scheme for with the advent of
this regime, the unique American experiment of “separation of church and state” was
transported to Philippine soil.

B. RATIONALE:
 To delineate the boundaries between the two institutions and thus avoid encroachment
by one against the other because of a misunderstanding of the limits of their respective
exclusive jurisdictions
 A union of Church and State, as aptly remarked, “tends to destroy government and to
degrade religion.”
 It is also likely to result in conspiracy, well night irresistible because of its composite
strength, against the individual’s right to worship.
There will be no violation of the establishment clause if:
1. The statute has a secular legislative purpose.
2. It’s principal or primary effect is one that neither advances nor inhibits religion.
3. It does not foster an excessive government entangled with religion.





INTRAMURAL RELIGIOUS DISPUTES
- outside the jurisdiction of the secular authorities, when they regard to religious
dogma and other matters of faith
- the civil courts may assume jurisdiction, where the dispute involves the property
rights of the religious group or the relation of the members where property rights are
involved

RELIGIOUS PROFESSION AND WORSHIP
Two-fold aspect:
1. Freedom to believe - absolute as long as the belief is confined within the realm of
thought.
2. Freedom to act on one’s belief – subject to regulation where the belief is translated into
external acts that affect the public welfare.

RELIGIOUS TESTS
- constitutionally prohibited
- may result to clandestine attempts on the part of the government to prevent a
person from exercising his civil or political rights because of his religious beliefs.

III. SUPREMACY OF CIVILIAN AUTHORITY
Article 2, Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution
Civilian authority is at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the
Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the
sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.

SUPREMACY OF CIVILIAN AUTHORITY

1. The supremacy of civilian authority over the military at all times even during war time is
inherent in a republican state, the sovereign people being civilians.
2. This provision is a safeguard against the military take-over if the government and a
subsequent military dictatorship.
3. There is a need of an express declaration in the present Constitution that the prime duty of
the Armed Forces is to protect the people and the State due to the experience of the nation
during the time of Martial law under ex-resident Marcos when the military was accused of
several human rights abuses and the military were favored in various way.
4. The President of the Republic of the Philippines is the head of the civilian government, and,
at the same time, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The
supremacy of civilian authority is expressly provided since the resources of the military should
not be disregarded.








CASE DIGEST:
IBP v. Hon. Ronaldo B. Zamora et al.
G.R. No. 141284, August 15, 2000

FACTS:
President Joseph Estrada ordered the deployment of the Philippine Marines to join the
Philippine National Police (PNP) in visibility patrols around Metro Manila to stem the tide of
rising violence and crime. In response to such order, the PNP through Police Chief
Superintendent Edgar B. Aglipay issued Letter of Intent (LOI) dated 02/2000 which detailed the
joint visibility patrols called Task Force Tulungan. This was confirmed by a memorandum Pres.
Estrada issued dated 24 January 2000. On January 17, 2000, the IBP filed a petition to annul
LOI 02/2000 arguing that the deployment of the Marines is unconstitutional and is an incursion
by the military on the civilian functions of government as embodied in Article II, Sec. 3 and Art.
XVI, Sec. 5(4) of the 1987 Constitution.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the calling of the armed forces to assist the PNP in joint visibility patrols violates
the constitutional provisions on civilian supremacy over the military and the civilian character of
the PNP.

RULING:
The Marines render nothing more than assistance required in conducting the patrols. As
such there is no” insidious incursion” of the military civilian affairs nor can there be a violation of
the civilian supremacy clause in the Constitution. The real authority in these operations is
lodged with the head of the civilian institution, the PNP, and not with the military.
It appears that the present petition is anchored on fear that once the armed forces are
deployed, the military will gain ascendancy, and thus place in peril our cherished liberties. Such
apprehensions, however, are unfounded. The power to call the armed forces is just that -
calling out the armed forces. Unless, petitioner IBP can show, which it has not, that in the
deployment of the Marines, the President has violated the fundamental law, exceeded his
authority or jeopardized the civil liberties of the people, this Court is not inclined to overrule the
President’s determination of the factual basis for the calling of the Marines to prevent or
suppress lawless violence.
One last point. Since the institution of the joint visibility patrol in January, 2000, not a
single citizen has complained that his political or civil rights have been violated as a result of the
deployment of the Marines. It was precisely to safeguard peace, tranquility and the civil liberties
of the people that the joint visibility patrol was conceived. Freedom and democracy will be in full
bloom only when people feel secure in their homes and in the streets, not when the shadows of
violence and anarchy constantly lurk in their midst.

Petition is dismissed.