80-year old nun pleads not guilty in perjury case filed by Esperon

80-year nun Elenita Belardo, whom the government redtagged, has pleaded not guilty to the perjury case initiated by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.

Belardo, national coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), was arraigned before the sala of Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Branch 37 Judge Aimee Marie Alcera.

This would mark the start of Belardo’s trial. The court directed the parties to have their documentary evidence marked on February 24, before proceeding with the presentation of the prosecution’s evidence in the following hearing.

Prosecutors found probable cause in the claim of Esperon that Belardo falsely accused him of redtagging and harassment in her unsuccessful petition for amparo.

Belardo swore under oath that she was part of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, which was stated to be a “registered nonstock, non-profit” organization. Esperon had argued that RMP’s registration was revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2003.

The government had also asked the European Union (EU) to stop funding the group, accusing it of being a “communist front.”

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