XI. Freedom of Religion, Article III, Section 5;

A. Free Exercise Clause (Conscientious objector / Benevolent Neutrality doctrine)
– The benevolent neutrality theory believes that with respect to these governmental actions, accommodation of religion may be allowed, not to promote the government’s favored form of religion, but to allow individuals and groups to exercise their religion without hindrance. The purpose of accommodation is to remove a burden on, or facilitate the exercise of, a person’s or institution’s religion. What is sought under the theory of accommodation is not a declaration of unconstitutionality of a facially neutral law, but an exemption from its application or its ‘burdensome effect,’ whether by the legislature or the courts.

– Victoriano v Elizalde Rope Workers Union, GR L-25246, 12 Sep 1994
– Ebralinag v Division Superintendent of Cebu, GR, 95770, 29 Dec 1995
– Estrada vs Escritor, A.M. P-02-1651, 22 Jun 2006; (formerly OCA I.P.I. No. 00-1021-P, 4 Aug 2003)
– Request of Muslim Employees in the different courts in Iligan City, A.M. 02-2-10-SC, 14 Dec 2005 (Re: Office Hours) – Freedom to Act on One’s Beliefs – where the individual externalizes his beliefs in acts or omissions that affect the public, his freedom to do so becomes subject to the authority of the State. As great as this liberty may be, religious freedom, like all other rights guaranteed in the Constitution, can be enjoyed only with a proper regard for the rights of others. 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. And this is true even if such practices are pursued out of sincere religious conviction and not merely for the purpose of evading the reasonable requirements or prohibitions of the law.

– Imbong v Ochoa, GR 204819, 8 Apr 2014

B. Non- Establishment Clause; exceptions; Article VI, Section 28 (3); Article VI Section 1 (2); Article XIV, Section (3)

– Aglipay v Ruiz, GR L-45459, 13 Mar, 1937
– Peralta v Philpost, GR 223395, 4 Dec 2018
– Engel v Vitale, 370 US 421 (1962)
– Abington Schools District v Schempp, 374 US 203 (1973)
– Stone v Graham, 449 US 39 (1980)
– Wallace v Jaffree, 472 US 38 (1985)
– Letter of Atty. Valenciano, , A.M. 10-4-19-SC, 7 Mar 2017 (accommodation vs establishment)

C. Allowable vs non-allowable government aid; Requisites

Case: Lemon v Kurtzman, 403 US 602 (1971) (Lemon Test)

D. Separation of Church and State

– Fonacier v CA, GR L-5917, 28 Jan 1955
– Garces vs. Estenzo, GR L-53487. 25 May 1981
– Ang Ladlad v Comelec, GR190582, 8 Apr 2010
– Republic v Manalo, GR 221029, 24 Apr 2018
– Municipality of Tangkal v Balindon, GR 193340, 11 Jan 2017


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