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Garces Vs.

Estenzo Case Digest

Garces Vs. Estenzo 104 SCRA 510 G.R. L-53487 May 25, 1 81 !acts" Two resolutions of the Barangay Council of Valencia, Ormoc City were passed: a. Resolution No. 5 Re!i!ing the traditional socio religious cele"ration e!ery fifth of #pril. This pro!ided for the ac$uisition of the image of %an Vicente &errer and the construction of a waiting shed. &unds for the said pro'ects will "e o"tained through the selling of tic(ets and cash donations. ". Resolution No. ) The chairman or hermano mayor of the fiesta would "e the careta(er of the image of %an Vicente &errer and that the image would remain in his residence for one year and until the election of his successor. The image would "e made a!aila"le to the Catholic Church during the cele"ration of the saint*s feast day. These resolutions ha!e "een ratified "y +,+ !oters, and said pro'ects were implemented. The image was temporarily placed in the altar of the Catholic Church of the "arangay. -owe!er, after a mass, &ather %ergio .arilao Osme/a refused to return the image to the "arangay council, as it was the church*s property since church funds were used in its ac$uisition. Resolution No. 01 was passed for the authori2ation of hiring a lawyer for the reple!in case against the priest for the reco!ery of the image. Resolution No. 0+ appointed Brgy. Captain Veloso as a representati!e to the case. The priest, in his answer assailed the constitutionality of the said resolutions. The priest with #ndres 3arces, a mem"er of the #glipayan Church, contends that %ec. 4 #rticle 5V0 and %ec 046+7 #rticle V5557 + of the constitution was !iolated. #ss$e" 8hether or Not any freedom of religion clause in the Constitution !iolated. %e&'" No. #s said "y the Court this case is a petty $uarrel o!er the custody of the image. The image was purchased in connection with the cele"ration of the "arrio fiesta and not for the purpose of fa!oring any religion nor interfering with religious matters or "eliefs of the "arrio residents. #ny acti!ity intended to facilitate the worship of the patron saint6such as the ac$uisition7 is not illegal. 9ractically, the image was placed in a layman*s custody so that it could easily "e made a!aila"le to any family desiring to "orrow the image in connection with prayers and no!ena. 5t was the council*s funds that were used to "uy the image, therefore it is their property. Right of the determination of custody is their right, and e!en if they

decided to gi!e it to the Church, there is no !iolation of the Constitution, since pri!ate funds were used. Not e!ery go!ernment acti!ity which in!ol!es the e:penditure of pu"lic funds and which has some religious tint is !iolati!e of the constitutional pro!isions regarding separation of church and state, freedom of worship and "anning the use of pu"lic money or property.