Esperon slammed over alleged ‘trumped up’ charges vs. nun
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has been accused making trumped up charges against against 80-year-old nun Elenita Belardo after failing to secure the indictment of militant groups accused of being affiliated with communist rebels.
“National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. is behind this political persecution against rights groups,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay in a statement on Friday (Dec. 6).
“Knowing he has no case against Karapatan, Gabriela, and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), he has instead settled with targeting a single individual — 80 year-old Sister Elenita Belardo,” she lamented.
Belardo is facing before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court a perjury case for claiming that the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines Inc. (RMP) where she works as a national coordinator is a registered non-stock, non-profit organization despite knowing that its certificate of registration has long been revoked back in in 2003.
“This government is clearly worked up when it comes to missionaries under the RMP because the latter has long exposed inadequacies and undelivered basic services in the countryside,” Palabay noted.
“Sr. Elen has spent years away from the spotlight, dedicating herself in literacy programs. While this government is focused on destroying schools and denying the dismal state of education in the country, the likes of Sr. Elen have long invested their time, love, and effort, in helping communities attain their right to education and right to self-determination,” she added.
Belardo was among the respondents in the perjury complaints filed by Esperon back in July but was dismissed by Senior Assistant Prosecutor Nilo Penaflor who only found probable cause in indicting the nun.
“The perjury case was filed by Esperon after Karapatan, Gabriela, and RMP filed a petition for the issuance of writs of amparo and habeas corpus at the Supreme Court in May 2019. The groups named President Duterte and several military and government officials, including Esperon, who are part of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as respondents. The groups sought protection from the Court, citing a series of red-tagging and human rights violations directed and the organizations and its members,”Palabay said.