F: This is a petition for review on the decision of the CA affirming action of respondent Board of Review For Moving Pictures and Television that x-rated the TV Program "Ang Iglesia ni Cristo" classifying it not for public viewing on grounds that they offend and constitute an attack against other religions which is expressly prohibited by law. Respondent contends the Board acted without jurisdiction and in grave abuse of discretion by requiring them to submit VTR tapes and x-rating them and suppression of freedom of expression. Trial court rendered judgment ordering the Board to give petitioner the permit for their TV program while ordering petitioners to refrain from attacking and offending other religious sectors from their program. In their motion for reconsideration the petitioner prays for the deletion of the order of the court to make them subject to the requirement of submitting the VTR tapes of their programs for review prior to showing on television. Such motion was granted. Respondent board appealed before the CA which reversed the decision of the lower court affirming the jurisdiction and power of the board to review the TV program. In their petition for review on certiorari, petitioner assails the jurisdiction of the Board over reviewing of their TV program and its grave abuse of discretion of its power to review if they are indeed vested with such.

Issue: whether or not the Board has jurisdiction over the case at bar and whether or not it has acted with grave abuse of discretion.

Held: The court affirmed the jurisdiction of the Board to review TV programs by virtue of the powers vested upon it by PD 1986. On the account of suppression of religious freedom, the court ruled that any act that restrains speech is accompanied with presumption of invalidity. The burden lies upon the Board to overthrow this presumption. The decision of the lower court is a suppression of the petitioner’s freedom of speech and free exercise of religion. Respondent board cannot censor the speech of petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks other religions. It is only where it is unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified. There is no showing whatsoever of the type of harm the tapes will bring about especially the gravity and imminence of the threatened harm. Prior restraint on speech, including religious speech, cannot be justified by hypothetical fears but only by the showing of a substantive and imminent evil. Thus the court affirmed the jurisdiction of the Board to review the petitioner’s TV program while it reversed and set aside the decision of the lower court  that sustained the act of respondent in x-rating the TV program of the petitioner.


2 fold aspects of religious profession and worship namely:

1.    Freedom to believe (absolute
2. Freedom to act on one’s belief – where an individual externalizes his beliefs in acts or omissions affecting the public, this freedom to do so becomes subject to the regulation authority of the state.
 


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