Sr. Elenita Belardo posts bail at the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court yesterday for one count of perjury.
‘Upright and honest’: Deported Sister Fox defends 80-year-old nun facing perjury rap
( - December 12, 2019 - 6:39pm

MANILA, Philippines — Australian missionary Patricia Fox—deported last year after earning the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte—expressed solidarity with the leader of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, who is facing perjury charges.

Sister Elenita Belardo, RMP national coordinator, has been charged with perjury after she claimed RMP is a duly-registered non-stock and non-profit organization when the group’s certification was revoked in 2003.

The 80-year-old nun, who said she made the claim in good faith, posted bail last week after the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 37 issued a warrant for her.

“Words escape me to hear that the case against Sr. Elen has been pursued by this regime… I stand in solidarity with Sr. Elen as she defends against this injustice to her and in solidarity will all those facing trumped-up charges in the Philippines,” Fox said.

The perjury case was filed by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. to counter the petitions for writ of amparo and habeas data filed by the RMP and other sectoral groups before the Supreme Court. His complaint against other individuals was dismissed due to lack of probable cause and insufficiency of evidence.

The Revised Penal Code penalizes people "who knowingly [make] untruthful statements and...shall testify under oath, or make an affidavit, upon any material matter before a competent person authorized to administer an oath in cases in which the law so requires."

Fox described Belardo as an “upright, trustworthy and honest woman who would not resort to perjury” and said the nun from the Religious of the Good Shepherd “tirelessly advocated” on the behalf of individuals from marginalized sectors.

“Rather than being awarded for her commitment over so many years, a government which reveals itself everyday as a government for the rich and powerful, now has the audacity to use the law as a weapon against this elderly religious sister,” the Australian nun said.

Fox left the Philippines in November last year after her missionary visa was rejected for renewal and had been downgraded to a tourist visa. She worked as a missionary in the country for 27 years.

Duterte was angered by her so-called political work, accusing the nun of violating a prohibition against foreigners to be involved in partisan activities. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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