"God is stupid"; Duterte's comment protected by law

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. See video below.However, what people forget is that, although the President leads the Executive Department of the Government, he is still a citizen of the Republic and he also enjoys the rights enshrined under the 1987 Constitution. His 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 non-believers 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. Neither does this fact entitle them to sue him in a court of law.

Unfortunately, in Iglesia ni Cristo v. Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court carelessly quoted with approval a sentence from Isagani Cruz's book, saying: "An atheist cannot express in his disbelief in act of derision that wound the feelings of the faithful." This part of Cruz's book talks about the freedom to act on one's belief. It must be emphasized that this sentence has no relevant or significant nexus to the ratio decidendi in that case. (G.R. No. 119673, July 26, 1996)