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Examining the Cases Involving Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Philippines: An Insight for Religious Freedom and Church-State Relations

ARC Admin
2024-06-11 07:38 UTC+7 210


ISSN 1686-9184


Kurt Zeus L. Dizon


Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW) are well-known for their refusal to engage in various political activities. Hence, the JW were involved in the Philippines’ Supreme Court landmark case of Ebralinag vs. Division, which revolves around religious freedom. Although Ebralinag provides a bountiful discussion on religious freedom and church-state relations, there needs to be more clarity regarding JW’s legal experiences and challenges in the Philippines. Limited attention has been given to reviewing the cases involving this religious group and the policies that affect them. Thus, in this context, the paper compiled and discussed cases where several Philippine laws and policies challenged the JW. The paper identified and looked into six cases wherein the members of the JW and the organization were involved. These cases touch on five policies: flag ceremonies, police power, military service, use of public property for religious purposes, and marriage. the JW used the clause on freedom of religion, right to public education, and freedom of speech as legal vanguards. Examining the cases and policies affecting the JW has presented how the courts weigh religious freedom and state authority and ensure a balance between the two. Moreover, JW cases validate the usual behavior in Philippine jurisprudence concerning religious freedom and church-state relations as both progressive and traditional.


Jehovah’s Witnesses, religious freedom, secularism, church-state, Philippines


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Submitted: November 22, 2023; Accepted: April 3, 2024; Published: June 30, 2024