Duterte’s stupid-God comment protected by the 1987 Constitution

President Rodrigo Duterte has called God stupid for what he perceives as flaws in the creation story. Because of this, many people have posted their criticism of the President on the Internet.

However, what people forget is that, although the President leads the Executive Department of the Government, he also enjoys the rights enshrined under the 1987 Constitution. He is a citizen whose rights are guaranteed under the Bill of Rights (Articles III).

Section 4 of Article III provides, "No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances."
Section 5 of Article III provides, "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 allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights."

We should remember that the right to believe includes the right not to believe. All persons possess the right to profess their belief in God or gods, the same way that nonbelievers are allowed to express their disbelief or criticism of gods or of any religion. That people are hurt by Duterte's comments regarding religion does not entitle anyone to bodily prevent him from expressing his thoughts.

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