Church group laments gov’t harassment, intimidation

Church group laments gov’t harassment, intimidation

Sr. Elenita Belardo, National Coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines. COURTESY OF RMP

By CBCP News

July 6, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A church organization has condemned continued “harassment” of dissenting groups and individuals by the government.

The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines said that is the reason why they filed the petition for writ of amparo and habeas data “in the first place”.

“They’ve been spreading these lies. They’ve been red-tagging, harassing and threatening us,” said RMP National Coordinator Sr. Elenita Belardo, RGS.

The group particularly lamented the perjury case lodged against them by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

Esperon alleged that RMP and two other human rights groups issued false statements in their petition for a protection order against government harassment.

He also accused RMP of falsely claiming that it is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The church group said they have documents to prove that they are SEC registered.

“For NSA Hermogenes Esperon Jr. to claim that we have not is a blatant lie,” Belardo said.

“This perjury case against us and our co-petitioners aims to turn people’s attention away from the real issue,” she added.

The government has earlier accused RMP and several church groups as “fronts” of the communist underground movement.

The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines is a religious group that works with marginalized sectors in rural poor communities.

Among its members is Australian nun Patricia Fox who was deported by the Duterte government in November 2018 for her alleged involvement in “partisan political activities” in the country.