FACTS: Escritor is a
Complainant Estrada requested the Judge of said RTC to investigate respondent. According to complainant, respondent should not be allowed to remain employed therein for it will appear as if the court allows such act.
Respondent claims that their conjugal arrangement is permitted by her religion—the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the
ISSUE: Whether or Not the State could penalize respondent for such conjugal arrangement.
RULING: No. The State could not penalize respondent for she is exercising her right to . The free exercise of religion is specifically articulated as one of the fundamental rights in our Constitution. As
Furthermore, a distinction between public and secular morality and religious morality should be kept in mind. The jurisdiction of the Court extends only to public and secular morality.
The Court further states that our Constitution adheres the benevolent neutrality approach that gives room for accommodation of religious exercises as required by the . This benevolent neutrality could allow for accommodation of morality based on religion, provided it does not offend compelling state interests. Assuming arguendo that the OSG has proved a compelling state interest, it has to further demonstrate that the state has used the least intrusive means possible so that the free exercise is not infringed any more than necessary to achieve the legitimate goal of the state. Thus the conjugal arrangement cannot be penalized for it constitutes an exemption to the law based on her right to freedom of religion.