Artist-Tour Guide Carlos Celdran Nabbed for Demonstration Inside Church
By NEIL RAMOS
October 1, 2010, 1:30pm
MANILA, Philippines - Popular tour guide, artist and commercial model Carlos Celdran was apprehended by police for staging a lightning protest inside Manila Cathedral Thursday afternoon.
According to reports, Celdran marched in the middle of the church during the homily brandishing a placard with “Damaso” written on it and held it up in front of church goers.
He was supposedly heard shouting “bakit mahihirap lang pinagbabawalan sa family planning.”
He also castigated church elders for getting involved in politics.
Celdran was immediately arrested and brought to the MPD headquarters in UN avenue.
Dressed akin to that of national hero Jose Rizal, replete with bowler hat, Cledran was apologetic but firm when he faced the media.
“I apologize for being rude. But it was necessary for me to be rude,” said he adding, “I am sorry for the method I used, but I am not sorry for the message I made.”
Celdran explained the necessity of his actions, citing the supposed threat made by church leaders to stage civil disobedience rallies following President Noynoy Aquino’s declaration of support for modern contraceptives.
At least one bishop said Aquino could be excommunicated.
“If you make threats about civil disobedience you gotta figure out what it feels like,” Celdran intoned.
Celdran said the Church needed to be reminded “to respect the constitutional provision on separation of Church and State.”
Though Celdran, who identified himself as a member of the Filipino Freethinkers and Rational Hero.com, didn’t explain why he had “Damaso” written on his placard, many believe it referred to the “Damaso” character in Jose Rizal’s much-fawned novel “Noli Me Tangere. “
Damaso is a powerful friar hated by many for supposedly abusing his position.
The mass is meant to mark the second anniversary of the May They Be One Bible campaign, a joint effort by Catholics and Protestant leaders to distribute Bibles to five million poor Filipino families.
Among those at the ceremony were Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Edward Adams, and other Catholic bishops.
Protestant Bishops Fred Magbanua of the Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches and Nathaniel Lazaro, chair of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines and Rev. Richard Pridmore of the Union Church of Manila were also present.