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Republika ng Pilipinas

Provincial Government of Palawan

Puerto Princesa City
Provincial Legal Office
PLO CONTROL NO. 2017-145
May 16, 2017

July 7, 2017


Assistant Provincial Warden
OIC- Provincial Jail Management Division


This refers to your letter dated May 15, 2017, requesting for legal opinion and/or
appropriate action regarding the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to be
entered into by the Provincial Government of Palawan thru Provincial Jail
Management Division (PJMD) and the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) for the proposed
construction of Multi-purpose Hall intended for the use of IGLESIA NI CRISTO and
Provincial Jail Management Division (PJMD) for the conduct of the religious

Hereunder is the opinion of this Office, to wit:

Religion has been defined by our higher court as a profession of faith to an

active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator. The court has
consistently held that religion, for purposes of the religion clauses under our
constitution, has thus far been interpreted as relating to or characterized by
belief in the existence of a God or Gods.

It is enshrined under Section 5, Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which
provides that, 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.

This constitutional guaranty of the free exercise and enjoyment of religious

profession and worship carries with it the right to disseminate religious
information and in order to impart their teachings there is a need for a place
where they can gather to impart and exercise their beliefs.

Further, the State as mandated by our constitution values the dignity of every
human person and guarantees full respect for human rights which include the
prisoners thus it is necessary to respect the rights of the prisoners to exercise their
religious beliefs and moral precepts of the group to which a prisoner belongs.

Also an individual, though in prison does not lose his inherent rights to dignity and
his other human rights regardless of what he or she may have done or whatever
political convictions he may have including but not limited to the right to
exercise his religious beliefs. Any restraint of such right could only be justified on
the grounds that there is clear and present danger of any substantive evil which
the State has the right to prevent.
The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted Aug. 30, 1955 by
the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of
Offenders, which has become a general principles of international law provides that:

(1) If the institution contains a sufficient number of prisoners of the same religion,
a qualified representative of that religion shall be appointed or approved. If the
number of prisoners justifies it and conditions permit, the arrangement should be
on a full-time basis.

(2) A qualified representative appointed or approved under paragraph (1) shall

be allowed to hold regular services and to pay pastoral visits in private to
prisoners of his religion at proper times.

(3) Access to a qualified representative of any religion shall not be refused to any
prisoner. On the other hand, if any prisoner should object to a visit of any religious
representative, his attitude shall be fully respected.

So far as practicable, every prisoner shall be allowed to satisfy the needs of his
religious life by attending the services provided in the institution and having in his
possession the books of religious observance and instruction of his denomination.

Therefore, the proposed construction of the Multi-purpose Hall inside the premise
of the Palawan Provincial Jail as enumerated under Article IV of the proposed
Memorandum of Agreement shall be permitted to be used as a facility for
conducting activities for the free exercise of beliefs and religion intended for the
reintegration of the residents of the Provincial Jail to nourish their spiritual life
while waiting for the trial of their respective cases.

Based from the foregoing, there is no legal impediment to enter into a

Memorandum of Agreement and it is permissible to allow the construction of the
multi-purpose hall provided that the cost for the construction of the multi-
purpose hall shall be borne by the Iglesia Ni Cristo and it shall not be for their
private usage.

We hope to have enlightened you on this matter.

Respectfully submitted.



ATTY. __________________________