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policy of neutrality. Hence, it was grave violation of the non-establishment clause for theComelec to utilize the Bible and the Koran to justify the exclusion ofAng Ladlad. Rather thanrelying on religious belief, the legitimacy of the Assailed Resolutions should depend, instead,on whether the Comelec is able to advance some justification for its rulings beyond mereconformity to religious doctrine.Alaw could be religious or Kantian or Aquinian orutilitarian in its deepest roots, but it must have an articulable and discernible secularpurpose and justification to pass scrutiny of the religion clauses. Recognizing the religiousnature of the Filipinos and the elevating influence of religion in society, however, thePhilippine constitution's religion clauses prescribe not a strict but a benevolent neutrality.Benevolent neutrality recognizes that government must pursue its secular goals andinterests but at the same time strive to uphold religious liberty to the greatest extentpossible within flexible constitutional limits. Thus, although the morality contemplated bylaws is secular, benevolent neutrality could allow for accommodation of morality based onreligion, provided it does not offend compelling state interests.LIBERTY OF ABODE AND FREEDOM OF MOVEMENTOFFICE OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES-OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR,COMPLAINANT, VS. JUDGE IGNACIO B. MACARINE, MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT,GEN. LUNA, SURIGAO DEL NORTEA.M. No. MTJ-10-1770, July 18, 2012, J. BrionOCA Circular No. 49-2003 does not restrict but merely regulates, by providingguidelines to be complied by judges and court personnel, before they can go on leave to travelabroad.99 | P a g e
Political Law ReviewFacts:OCA Circular No. 49-2003 requires that all foreign travels of judges and courtpersonnel, regardless of the number of days, must be with prior permission from the Cuurt.A travel authority must be secured from the OCA.The complete requirements should besubmitted to and received by the OCA at least two weeks before the intended time of travel.Judges and personnel who shall leave the country without travel authority issued by theOCA shall be subject to disciplinary action. Judge Macarine wrote the Court Administratorrequesting for authority to travel to Hongkong with his family for the period of September10 - 14, 2009 where he would celebrate his 65thbirthday. He stated that his travel abroadshall be charged to his annual forced leave. However, he did not submit the correspondingapplication for leave. For his failure to submit the complete requirements, his request forauthority to travel remained unacted upon. He proceeded with his travel abroad without therequired travel authority from the OCA. He was then informed by the OCA that his leave ofabsence for the period of September 9-15, 2009 had been disapproved and his travelconsidered unauthorized by the Court. His absences shall not be deducted from his leavecredits but from his salary corresponding to the seven (7) days that he was absent, pursuantto Section 50 of the Omnibus Rules on Leave.