Fiscal urged to drop perjury charges against 80-year-old nun

Sr. Ellen Belardo, former national coordinator of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, chats with workers. Belardo faces arrest over perjury charges filed by Gen. Hermogenes Esperon. (Photo courtesy of RMP)

The RMP called on the Office of the Prosecutor to drop the case against Sr. Elenita Belardo so that “she can continue her advocacy of defending the people especially the marginalized sectors of our society.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) has called on the Quezon City Prosecutors’ Office to “see the light,” following its decision to pursue the perjury charges filed by a retired military official now presidential adviser on security affairs and the consequent issuance of arrest warrant against Sr. Elenita Belardo.

RMP National Coordinator Sr. Elsa Compuesto, MSM said that they are alarmed that the court decided to pursue the allegations against Belarde, their former national coordinator, “who spent most of her life working with the rural poor as a testament of her love and commitment to Christ.”

The RMP said Belardo and her lawyers have said during the preliminary hearing that the testimony in question was “done in good faith and in no way intended to falsify information.”

Still, the QC Prosecutor’s Office stated in its resolution that her defense of good faith “cannot be given full faith and credence there being a clear showing that false narration of facts has actually been committed.”

The RMP said the perjury case is a mere “retaliation” to the petition for writs of amparo and habeas data, which they filed against ranking military officials last May as they sought the court’s protection from the military’s red-tagging, which, they said, is a threat to their lives as they become legitimate military targets.

Compuesto said, “ultimately, we know that this is part of the efforts to discredit and vilify our organization and to impede our missionary work and advocacy for land, justice and peace.”

The RMP called on the Office of the Prosecutor to drop the case against Belardo so that “she can continue her advocacy of defending the people especially the marginalized sectors of our society.”

Charges against other respondents to the perjury case – such as the officers of human rights group Karapatan, women’s group Gabriela, and RMP regional coordinator Sr. Emma Cupin, on the other hand, have all been dismissed. Bulatlat.com

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