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CRIMINAL LAW II

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ARTICLE 131
Prohibition, interruption and dissolution of peaceful meetings
Ignacio, et. al vs. Ela
99 Phil. 347, G.R. No. L-6858, May 31, 1956
FACTS: The petitioners are members of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, commonly known as Jehovahs
Witnesses, whose tenets and principles are derogatory to those professed by the Catholic organization. In its
publication "FACE THE FACTS", that society branded the latter as a religious organization which is "a part of the
monstrosity now appearing in and claiming the right to rule the earth." Desiring to hold a meeting in furtherance of
its objectives, petitioners asked respondent to give them permission to use the public plaza together with the kiosk,
but, instead of granting the permission, respondent allowed them to hold their meeting on the northwestern part
corner of the plaza. He adopted as a policy not to allow the use of the kiosk for any meeting by any religious
denomination as it is his belief that said kiosk should only be used "for legal purposes." And when their request for
reconsideration was denied, petitioners instituted the present action for mandamus. It is now contended by
petitioners that the action taken by respondent is unconstitutional being an abridgment of the freedom of speech,
assembly, and worship guaranteed by our Constitution.
ISSUE: Whether or not the right to peacefully assemble guaranteed by the Constitution may be invoked
HELD: "The right to freedom of speech, and to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of
grievances, are fundamental personal rights of the people recognized and guaranteed by the constitutions of
democratic countries. But it is a settled principle growing out of the nature of well-ordered civil societies that the
exercise of those rights is not absolute for it may be so regulated that it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment
of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the community or society. The power to regulate the
exercise of such and other constitutional rights is termed the sovereign police power, which is the power to
prescribe regulations, to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety, and general welfare of
the people. This sovereign police power is exercised by the government through its legislative branch by the
enactment of laws regulating those and other constitutional and civil rights, and it may be delegated to political
subdivisions, such as towns, municipalities and cities by authorizing their legislative bodies called municipal and city
councils to enact ordinances for the purpose." It therefore appears that the right to freedom of speech and to
peacefully assemble, though guaranteed by our Constitution, is not absolute, for it may be regulated in order that it

CRIMINAL LAW II

CASES AND DOCTRINES, Arellano University School of Law


aiza ebina/2014

may not be "injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the
community or society", and this power may be exercised under the "police power" of the state, which is the power to
prescribe regulations to promote the health, peace, education, good order or safety, and general welfare of the
people. The power exercised by respondent cannot be considered as capricious or arbitrary considering the peculiar
circumstances of the case. It appears that the public plaza, particularly the kiosk, is located at a short distance from
the Roman Catholic Church. The proximity of said church to the kiosk has caused some concern on the part of the
authorities that to avoid disturbance of peace and order, or the happening of untoward incidents, they deemed it
necessary to prohibit the use of that kiosk by any religious denomination as a place of meeting of its members. This
was the policy adopted by respondent for some time previous to the request made by petitioners. Respondent never
denied such request but merely tried to enforce his policy by assigning them the northwestern part of the public
plaza. It cannot therefore be said that petitioners were denied their constitutional right to assemble for, as was said,
such right is subject to regulation to maintain public order and public safety. This is especially so considering that
the tenets of petitioners congregation are derogatory to those of the Roman Catholic Church, a factor which
respondent must have considered in denying their request.
RATIO: The right to peaceful meeting is not absolute. The right to freedom of speech and to peacefully assemble,
though guaranteed by our Constitution, is not absolute, for it may be regulated in order that it may not be injurious
to the equal enjoyment of others having equal right, nor injurious to the right of the community or society and this
power may be exercised under the police power of the state, which is the power to prescribe regulations and
promote the good order or safety and general welfare of the people.
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CRIMINAL LAW II

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ARTICLE 131
Prohibition, interruption and dissolution of peaceful meetings
Navarro vs. Villegas
31 SCRA 371, G.R. No. L-31687, February 26, 1970
FACTS: On February 24, 1970, the petitioner, acting in behalf of the Movement of a Democratic Philippines, wrote a
letter to the respondent, the Mayor of the City of Manila, applying to hold a rally at Plaza Miranda, February 26,
1970, from 4-11 PM. On the same day, the respondent wrote a reply, denying his request on the grounds that, they
have temporarily adopted the policy of not issuing any permit for the use of Plaza Miranda for rallies or
demonstration during weekdays due to the events that happened from the past week. On the same letter, the
respondent gave the petitioner an option to use the Sunken Garden near Intamuros for its rally, and for it to be held
earlier for it to end before dark. The petitioner filed suit contesting the Mayors action on the ground that it violates
the petitioners right to peaceable assembly and petition the government for redress of grievances (Article 3,
Section 1 (8)) and of the petitioners right to the equal protection of the law (Article 3, Section 1).
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondents act on denying the request of the petitioner violates the petitioners right to
peaceable assembly and right to the equal protection of the law
HELD: The respondent Mayor has not denied nor absolutely refused the permit sought by petitioner. As stated in
Primicias v. Fugoso, 80 Phil. 75, respondent Mayor possesses reasonable discretion to determine or specify the
streets or public places to be used for the assembly in order to secure convenient use thereof by others and provide
adequate and proper policing to minimize the risks of disorder and maintain public safety and order. The respondent
Mayor has expressly stated his willingness to grant permits for peaceful assemblies at Plaza Miranda during
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays when they would not cause unnecessarily great disruption of the normal activities
of the community and has further offered Sunken Gardens as an alternative to Plaza Miranda as the site of the
demonstration sought to be held. That experiences in connection with present assemblies and demonstrations do
not warrant the Court's disbelieving respondent Mayor's appraisal that a public rally at Plaza Miranda, as compared

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to one at the Sunken Gardens as he suggested, poses a clearer and more imminent danger of public disorders,
breaches of the peace, criminal acts, and even bloodshed as an aftermath of such assemblies, and petitioner has
manifested that it has no means of preventing such disorders. That, consequently, every time that such assemblies
are announced, the community is placed in such a state of fear and tension that offices are closed early and
employees dismissed, storefronts boarded up, classes suspended, and transportation disrupted, to the general
detriment of the public: That civil rights and liberties can exist and be preserved only in an order society.
RATIO: The right to peaceably assemble is not absolute and may be regulated.
--ARTICLE 131
Prohibition, interruption and dissolution of peaceful meetings
People vs. Alipit
44 Phil. 910, G.R. No. L-18853, August 22, 1922
FACTS: On or about the 30th of May, 1920, in the municipality of Cabuyao, Province of Laguna, Philippine Islands,
the defendants Exequiel Alipit and Victorio D. Alemus, being the municipal president and the chief of police,
respectively of the said municipality of Cabuyao, did willfully, unlawfully, maliciously and acting under a previous
agreement and conspiracy, entered into between themselves and assisting and cooperating with each other, after
the accused Exequiel Alipit had fired his revolver in the air, enter the session room of the municipality building of
Cabuyao wherein the municipal council of Cabuyao was holding a meeting presided over by the vice-president,
Manuel Basa, and once in said room, the aforesaid accused Exequiel Alipit and Victorio D. Alemus, abusing their
authority as municipal president and chief of police respectively, the former with a revolver in his hand, and both
using violence and intimidation not only upon the person of said vice-president Manuel Basa, but also upon those of
the councilors present at the aforesaid meeting, and without any justifiable motive or legal authority and by means
of force, arrested said vice-president Manuel Basa and compelled him to submit himself to the arrest against the
latter's will and over his protest and that of each and every one of the councilors and took him to the jail of the
municipal building of Cabuyao, the accused Victorio D. Alemus taking at the same time possession of all the papers
concerning the meeting that was being held by the municipal council of Cabuyao, by which acts the defendants
succeeded in interrupting and dissolving the aforesaid meeting.
ISSUE: Whether or not the disturbance and interruption of the meeting of the council should be punished under
Article 131 of the Revised Penal Code

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HELD: Nobody has the right to dissolve, through violence, the meeting of a council under the present of the
existence of such a legal defect which was not apparent, but required an investigation before it could be determined.
Any stranger, even if he be the municipal president himself or the chief of the municipal police, must respect the
meeting of the municipal council which for the time being, at least, raises the presumption that no defect exists to
render it illegal. That meeting of the municipal council was entitled to this respect on the part of the defendants and
the aforesaid presumption was effective as to them. We are of the opinion that the law violated by the accused is Act
No. 1755, which in its section 1, says:
Any person who willfully or by force or fraud prevent or attempts to prevent the meeting of the Philippine
Commission or the organizing or meeting of the Philippine Assembly or of any Insular legislative body of the
Philippine Islands hereafter established, or the meeting or organizing of any provincial board or municipal or
township council, and any person who willfully disturbs the Philippine Commission or the Philippine Assembly, or in
Insular legislative body of the Philippine Islands hereafter established, or any provincial board or municipal or
township council, while in session, or who is guilty of any disorderly conduct in the immediate view or presence of
any such body tending to interrupt the proceedings of such body or to impair the respect due to its authority, shall
be punished by a fine of not more than two thousand pesos or by imprisonment for not more than five years, or by
both, in the discretion of the court.
And in view of the allegations contained in the information herein, the accused may, and must, be convicted of a
violation of said section 1 of this Act and punished accordingly.
RATIO: Interrupting and dissolving the meeting of municipal council by a public officer is a crime against a
legislative body, not punished under Article 131.
---

CRIMINAL LAW II

CASES AND DOCTRINES, Arellano University School of Law


aiza ebina/2014

ARTICLE 131
Prohibition, interruption and dissolution of peaceful meetings
ARTICLE 132
Interruption of religious worship
People vs. Reyes, et.al.
C.A.-G.R. No. 13633-R, July 27, 1955
FACTS: The Iglesia ni Cristo held a meeting at a public plaza after securing a permit to do so from the mayor. The
meeting started with some singing, after which the minister of the sect read from the Bible and then delivered a
sermon, in the course of which he attacked the Catholic and Aglipayan churches. The Chief of Police ordered his
policemen to stop the minister. When the minister refused, the Chief of Police fired two shots in the air which
dispersed the crowd and stopped the meeting.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Chief of Police is liable under Article 132 of the Revised Penal Code
HELD: The act of the Chief of Police is not a violation of Article 132, but of Article 131. There was no interruption of
legal worship, but only of a peaceful meeting.

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RATIO: Stopping the speaker who was attacking certain churches in public meeting is a violation of Article 131,
prohibition, interruption and dissolution of peaceful meetings.
---

ARTICLE 133
Offending the religious feelings
People vs. Mandoriao, Jr.
C.A., 51 O.G. 4619
FACTS: The Iglesia ni Cristo held a religious rally at a public place in Baguio. About 200 people attended the
meeting; about 50 of who were members of the Iglesia ni Cristo but the rest were outsiders and curious listeners.
While Salvio, a minister of Iglesia ni Cristo, was expounding on his topic to the effect that Christ is not God, but only
man, the crowd became unruly. Some people urged Mandoriao to go up the stage and have a debate with Salvio.
Mandoriao however, was not able to speak before the microphone because the wire connecting it was abruptly
disconnected.
ISSUE: Whether or not the meeting was a religious ceremony
HELD: The meeting here was not a religious ceremony. A religious meeting is an assemblage of people met for the
purpose of performing acts of adoration to the Supreme Being, or to perform religious services in recognition of God
as an object of worship The meeting here was not limited to the members of the Iglesia ni Cristo. The supposed
prayers and singing of hymns were merely incidental because the principal object of the rally was to persuade new

CRIMINAL LAW II

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converts to their religion. Assuming that the rally was a religious ceremony, the appellant cannot be said to have
performed acts or uttered words offensive to the feelings of the faithful. The act complained of must be directed
against a dogma or ritual, or upon an object of veneration. There was no object of veneration at the meeting.
RATIO: Religious ceremonies are those religious acts performed outside of a church, such as processions and
special prayers for burying dead persons. When the application of the Church of Christ was to hold the meeting at a
public place and the permit expressly stated that the purpose was to hold a prayer rally, what was held on that
occasion was not a religious ceremony, even if a minister was then preaching (that Jesus Christ was not God but
only a man). The rally was attended by persons who are not members of the sect.
---

ARTICLE 133
Offending the religious feelings
People vs. Baes
68 Phil. 203, G.R. No. L-46000, May 25, 1939
FACTS: That on April 14, 1937, at about 9 o'clock a.m., in the municipality of Lumban, Province of Laguna,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this court, the aforesaid accused, while holding the funeral of one who in
life was called Antonio Macabigtas, in accordance with the rites of religious sect known as the "Church of Christ",
willfully, unlawfully, and criminally caused the funeral to pass, as it in fact passed, through the churchyard fronting
the Roman Catholic Church, which churchyard belongs to the said Church, and is devoted to the religious worship
thereof, against the opposition of the undersigned complainant who, through force and threats of physical violence
by the accused, was compelled to allow the funeral to pass through the said churchyard. An act committed in grave
profanation of the place, in open disregard of the religious feelings of the Catholics of this municipality, and in
violation of Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code.

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ISSUE: Whether or not the acts complained of constitute the crime defined and penalized by Article 133 of the
Revised Penal Code
HELD: Whether or of the act complained of is offensive to the religious feelings of the Catholics, is a question of fact
which must be judged only according to the feelings of the Catholics and not those of other faithful ones, for it is
possible that certain acts may offend the feelings of those who profess a certain religion, while not otherwise
offensive to the feelings of those professing another faith. We, therefore, take the view that the facts alleged in the
complaint constitute the offense defined and penalized in Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code, and should the
fiscal file an information alleging the said facts and a trial be thereafter held at which the said facts should be
conclusively established, the court may find the accused guilty of the offense complained of, or that of coercion, or
that of trespass under Article 281 of the Revised Penal Code, as may be proper, pursuant to Section 29 of General
Orders, No. 58. "An act is said to be notoriously offensive to the religious feelings of the faithful when a person
ridicules or makes light of anything constituting a religious dogma; works or scoffs at anything devoted to religious
ceremonies; plays with or damages or destroys any object of veneration by the faithful."
RATIO: ACTS NOTORIOUSLY OFFENSIVE TO THE FEELINGS OF THE FAITHFUL the acts must be directed against
religious practice or dogma or ritual for the purpose of ridicule, as mocking or scoffing at or attempting to damage
an object of religious veneration.
Offense to feelings is judged from complainants point of view.
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