Is Fortune Telling a Crime in the Philippines?

I have seen a video clip at Tiktok which circulate the Video of Raffy Tulfo in Action that talks about charging a criminal case against a social media famous psychic. This comes from a complainant that is in Japan against this Socia Media Psychic that gives false prediction. Raffy Tulfo who is the host of the program ask for an advise of a lawyer on what case could be charged against this famous social media psychic, and here was the response of the lawyer.

The Lawyer referred the Revised Penal Code Article 318 under the title of “Other Deceit” as i qoute:

It is said that:

Article 318. Other Deceits. – The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine of not less than the amount of the damage caused and not more than twice such amount shall be imposed upon any person who shall defraud or damage another by any other deceit not mentioned in the preceding articles of this chapter.

Any person who, for profit or gain, shall interpret dreams, make forecasts, tell fortunes, or take advantage of the credulity of the public in any other similar manner, shall suffer the penalty of arrest a menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos.

Revised Penal Code of 1930

But when i searched for an updated revision of the penal code, I have found the Republic Act 10951 that was signed by the Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on May 30, 2017; and on Section 86 of this act, it rephrase Article 318 of the Revised Penal Code and just updated the value of the penalty which says:

Section 86. Article 318 of the same Act is hereby amended to read as follows:

“Art. 318. Other deceits. – The penalty of arresto mayor and a fine of not less than the amount of the damage caused and not more than twice such amount shall be imposed upon any person who shall defraud or damage another by any other deceit not mentioned in the preceding articles of this Chapter.

“Any person who, for profit or gain, shall interpret dreams, make forecasts, tell fortunes, or take advantage of the credulity of the public in any other similar manner, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor or a fine not exceeding Forty thousand pesos (₱40,000).”

Republic Act 10951 Section 86

According to Wikipedia, Arresto Mayor is an imprisonment from 1 month and 1 day to 6 months.

Is Fortune Telling a Crime?

According to this law, Fortune Telling such as interpreting dreams, make forecasts, tell fortunes can not be a crime as long as you do not take advantage of the credulity or the tendency of the public to be too ready to believe that is something is real or true and make that ability for profit or gain.

As I understand this law, it is not the ability of fortune telling is penalized here but the act of Deceit. Fortune Telling becomes a crime when a fortune teller uses their visions and prediction to scare their clients and ask them money to prevent the vision of bad luck to happen to the client.

At first I had confusion with this law, because when I registered Luntiang Aghama as a Shrine, we were approved and continually enjoying this freedom of Religion. And I did an experiment of registering a Business Name through Department of Trade and Industry, they have a Business Category on Tarot Reading Services. Watch this video that I made using Screen Recorder on my phone.

I do not think that our government will implement a law that will contradict to the actions of its government agency. Such as the Revised Penal Code are laws under the Jurisdiction of the Philippine Department of Justice while the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry which is a government agency in the Philippines that helps people in establishing Small to Medium Enterprises which can help to boost our own Economy. Our Government will never tolerate criminal acts in our country, so the laws of the land must be observed very well even among us who is a practitioner of the sacred craft.

Fortune Telling is our Constitutional Rights

The Philippine Constitution is the foundation of rights and liberty of the Pilipino People. In Article 3 Section 5 that states of the right of the Pilipino People, it says that:

No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

1987 Constitution of the Philippines Article 3 Section 5: Bill of Rights

Through this same statement of the Bill of Rights, Luntiang Aghama Natural Divine Arts Shrine of Healing Inc. was established and through this law we can express and exercise our Religious Profession such as a Legal Pagan Clergy of our Shrine.

Fortune Telling as a Religious Profession

Even before Islam and Christianity arrived in the Philippines, the Pilipino People have our own spiritual beliefs and religion. Our ancestors consulted with the Babaylan, Katalonan or Mumbaki who served as a Priest/Priestess of the community. They are usually the mediator of the people to the spirit world, and people come to them in consulting with the spirits. Babaylan, Katalonan and Mumbaki communicate with the spirits through Divination.

In modern Philippines, the practice of fortune telling and divination persist to strive even the whole country has been converted into Islam and Christianity. We all know that these modern religion forbid these practices that in the coming of the Spaniards in our country they penalized it through the Kodigo Penal which they implemented to the Pilipino’s on 1886-1930. By 1930 during the American Rule in our Country, the Supreme Court headed by Judge Anacleto Diaz drafted the Revised Penal Code which was currently updated on 2017 by the Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Divination and Fortune Telling is a Divine Communication

People needs Divine Guidance that is why they consulted with people that has the gift to communicate with the Divine. Fortune Telling during the times of our ancestors is a practice where people can interact and communicate with the Divinity through the mediatorship of the Babaylan, Katalonan and Mumbaki. In this modern time, Fortune Tellers, Psychic Counsellors, Seers, Visionaries and Pagan/Wiccan Priest & Priestesses are doing this role of Divine Communication through the use of their knowledge in interpreting dreams, palm reading, numerology, tarot reading and many other methods that the Spirits guide them.

Knowing your Fortune Teller

Republic Act 10951 Section 86 and Article 318 of the Revised Penal Code was made to protect the people from deceit. It does not forbid and condemn the Fortune Teller on our practice but it warns the Fortune Teller not to commit deceit or fraud. As a Client, you have the rights to know your Fortune Teller. Now-a-days, anyone can claim that they are fortune teller because they know how to read tarot cards. People can easily buy tarot cards now through online shopping platform such as Shopee or Lazada in the Philippines.

In order to avoid deception and fraud, as a Client you must know your fortune teller. Make a background check on the credibility of the Fortune Teller you choose.

  1. Google is free and you may check out their credentials there. We can not rely on online testimonies of client that is posted in their websites as those testimonies are selected by the site owner and developer.
  2. Know their story on how they become Psychic or Fortune Teller. Do their abilities are inherited from their clan? or do they learn it by their own? Or they learn it from a credible institution or school.
  3. Fortune Telling is a Pagan Practice, do the religion of your Fortune Teller allows them to practice fortune telling?
  4. Are they certified or ordained in practicing Fortune Telling? There are Schools and Organization in the Philippines that Certifies an Individual in the Practice of Fortune Telling or Psychic Counselling. Mysterium Philippines, Philippine Academy of Intuitives and Esoteric Society of the Philippines are legal organization that is registered in the Philippines Security and Exchange Commission; while Luntiang Aghama Natural Divine Arts Shrine of Healing Inc. and Path of the Wise Temple are registered Churches in SEC that ordains an Individual to practice and provide fortune telling services.
  5. Look for their Business Registration either Business Name Certificate from Department of Trade and Industry or Securities and Exchange Commision.

I hope this article will guide you through to continue your practice as a Fortune Teller; and for the client, may this help you be protected from the deceits and fraud who claims to be a fortune teller.

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