In a previous post, I talked at length about the whole Damaso brouhaha of Carlos Celdran. You can view it here, if you want to know more about what I had to say about the topic, at the time. Recently, though, the issue resurfaced when Celdran was sentenced to two months’ worth of jail time. Well, two months and twenty-one days. Check out that Facebook post, and the comments that come after it. They’re worth noting.
I have stopped writing about politics in this blog because, honestly, it gets tiring. But this isn’t just an issue of politics, in my opinion, so I have something to say publicly about it. So here goes.
In a country where practically no laws against public disturbances and public nuisances exist, or are properly enforced, this can be one of the first of many legal precedents to put that noisy neighbor in his place. See, the only time public disturbances are thoroughly checked by the Philippine National Police is when 1.) the complainant is a high-profile individual, or 2.) if there are firearms involved. I think they don’t stand to make enough money otherwise. In Celdran’s case, my first point is definitely valid, but the second one isn’t. Celdran was staging a peaceful demonstration, albeit a jarringly disrespectful one.
Celdran had the backing of a huge chunk of the public, whilst the Church is currently not enjoying the popularity that it used to have. Which is why I was still mildly surprised that the court moved to sentence him; recent events have shown that popularity in this country is power. So in a sense, the Church was the bad guy underdog here.
Given that Celdran, who might be more popular than the Church (at least in the Metro), and who protested peacefully, was sentenced anyway, one could see how this sets a precedent for the rights of the common man to his privacy. Based on this, we can now bravely file proper complaints against that noisy karaoke neighbor – and actually expect results! We can now file restraining orders against bothersome houseguests without being considered improper! I mean, I can just imagine going to a small claims court and citing the example of the 2013 case of the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH VS. CARLOS CELDRAN as a precedent. I’d be an asshole, sure, but to paraphrase He-Man, I FINALLY have the power.
Of course, this is just me daydreaming. I know that our system is flawed, corrupt to the core, and needs to be destroyed in order to be salvaged, with asides to any of my readers who are working with the government. But I didn’t intend to end this article with such a negative comment, so let me just go on to say that I think Celdran, being a representative of the government of Manila (people tend to forget that), will probably fight this sentence – and he should! – but will, in the end, serve it in good faith as an upstanding citizen. This will set another precedent, and will probably make the man more popular, and the Church less so.
But I’m frankly quite pleased with how things turned out, albeit I am a bit sad that Celdran will have to be out of commission for a while – I love the guy, despite his faults, and he makes sense, too. I’m good, however, with how the courts ruled over this, and I’m thankful that people aren’t overreacting to it as they would have previously. Although, as of this writing, it’s just been less than three hours since the news broke, so we’ll have to wait and see how this goes, yeah?