Are the Philippine Postal Corp. stamps featuring Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) founder Felix Manalo unconstitutional? The PHLPost issued last month postal stamps bearing the image of Manalo to commemorate the 100th founding anniversary of the INC.
For Malacañang, these stamps do not violate the constitutional provision prohibiting the appropriation and payment of public funds for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion.Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the PHLPost has been releasing series of stamps related to religious events or personalities.\”These are all commemorative stamps that we do, so we do not believe that this is in any way a violation of [the separation] of the Church and State,\” Lacierda said in a televised press briefing.According to Lacierda, a case elevated to the Supreme Court in the 1950s questioned the legality of a government postal stamp that was related to Manila\’s hosting of the Eucharistic assembly.
\”The Supreme Court said it was not a violation [of the separation] of the Church and State,\” Lacierda said.Aside from Manalo\’s image, the INC stamp also bears the logo of the INC centennial anniversary and its Central Temple at the background located in Quezon City.PHLPost said it has produced 1.2-million pieces of the stamp that has a P10 denomination.The INC will celebrate its centennial anniversary on July 27. Earlier this week, the Senate approved a House resolution declaring this day as a non-working holiday.With an estimated five to eight million voters who practice bloc-voting during elections, the support of the INC has always been sought after by politicians. -Louis Bacani(Source-http://www.philstar.com)