80-year old nun posts bail in perjury case initiated by Esperon

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80-year old Sister Elenita Belardo has posted an P18,000 bail in connection with the perjury case arising from the complaint of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.

Belardo was charged before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) after the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office found probable cause in Esperon’s claim that she falsely accused him of redtagging and harassment.

In her unsuccessful petition for the writ of 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Esperon had argued that RMP’s registration was revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2003.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 RMP in a statement said the perjury case was part of the Duterte administration’s vilification campaign against groups critical of human rights abuses.

“It is clear that this perjury case was filed against the petitioners to turn the discussion away from the real issue and as a reprisal to stop us from speaking about widespread human rights violations,” the group said.

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

Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay argued the nun “did not have any intent to falsify, manufacture, or misrepresent anything.”

“The reprisal perjury case shows us how vindictive and repressive this government can be: a government that criminalizes development work and dissent, weaponizes the law, and uses all its resources to turn its agencies into a repressive machinery,” Palabay said in a statement. #

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