Non-establishment Clause Case Doctrines

SECTION 5, Philippines Constitution- No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference shall forever be ed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

A. Non-establishment of religion

Aglipay v. Ruiz - commemorative postage stamp – Act. No. 4052 contemplates no religious purpose. What it gives is the discretionary power to determine when the issuance if special postage stamps would be advantageous to the government. The only purpose of the commemorative postage stamps was to advertise the Philippines and attract more tourists

Garces v. Estenzo – statue of San Vicente Ferrer – A resolution of the barangay council for soliciting contributions to buy a statue of the barangay’s patron saint and the use of such fund for said purpose does not violate the Constitution’s provision prohibiting use of public funds for religious purpose; statue was purchased by barangay funds so it belongs to the barangay and not to the parish

Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Worker’s Union – joining a union is prohibited by the Iglesia ni Cristo – closed shop agreement – freedom of religion takes precedent over the right against impairment of contracts

Islamic Dawah v. Executive Secretary
– Hala food products – Islamic Dawah v. Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA) – Classifying a food product as halal is a religious function because the standards used are drawn from the Qur’an and Islamic beliefs. State cannot classify food as halal.

B. Free Exercise of Religion

American Bible Society v. City of Manila
– selling bibles; tax - The constitutional guaranty of the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship carries with it the right to disseminate religious information. Any restraint of such right could only be justified like other restraints of freedom of expression on the grounds that there is clear and present danger of any substantive evil which the State has the right to prevent.

Ebralinag v. Superintendent
– saluting the flag; pledge – abandoned the ruling in Gerona. The 2-fold aspect of religious freedom, (1) the absolute freedom to believe as long as such is limited within the realm of thought, (2) the freedom to act on one’s belief, which may be regulated. It underscored the rule that the only justification for relief is the existence of clear and present danger, both grave and imminent, which is of serious evil to public interest. In the case at bar, the Court held that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ nonparticipation in the flag ceremony in no way poses a clear and present danger to society. Thus, restraint on the part of the government would be unjustified. Moreover, the petitioner’s right to quality education, as granted by the Constitution was likewise violated by effecting the  expulsion.

Iglesia ni Cristo v. Court of Appeals
– X rating of a TV show - Mere criticisms of some of the deeply held dogmas and tenets of other religions do not impose a clear and present danger, which the State should protect its citizens from. X-rating not justified. The right to religious profession and worship has a two-fold aspect, viz., freedom to believe and freedom to act on one's beliefs . The first is absolute as long as the belief is confined within the realm of thought. The second is subject to regulation where the belief is translated into external acts that affect the public welfare… It is error to think that the mere invocation of religious freedom will stalemate the State and render it impotent in protecting the general welfare. The inherent police power can be exercised to prevent religious practices inimical to society. However, prior restraint on speech, including religious speech, cannot be justified by hypothetical fears but only by the showing.