National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr. will ask prosecutors to pursue the perjury charges he filed against officials of leftist groups who made misrepresentations under oath in a habeas data suit earlier filed against the government.
In a statement issued Feb. 26, Esperon, who is also Vice Chairman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), said he “shall be pursuing a Motion for Reconsideration against the other accused”, citing that there is “a well-founded belief that they acted in conspiracy with one another, and with malicious intent.”
The 11 other individuals who signed the petition for writ of habeas data against the government under false pretenses include members of Gabriela, Karapatan and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP).
In a resolution dated Nov. 8, 2019, Quezon City Senior Assistant Prosecutor Nilo A. Peñaflor resolved that Sr. Elenita Belardo of the RMP be held for trial for perjury pursuant to Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code.
She was arraigned on the charges before Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Branch 37 Judge Aimee Marie Alcera last February 20.
Belardo signed for RMP in the petition for a writ of amparo and habeas data against the government’s counter-insurgency efforts and attested under oath that the RMP was a “duly registered non-stock, non-profit corporation pursuant to the SEC.”
It was later verified that Belardo, as RMP national chairperson, was a signatory in a corporate resolution to the SEC, dated Dec. 3, 2009 for the re-registration/re-incorporation of the said organization.
Prosecutors found that contrary to the claims of the accused, the SEC had already revoked RMP’s Certificate of Registration on Aug. 20, 2003.
Corporate records of the two other progressive groups were also found to be similarly dubious.
Aside from RMP, originally charged were Joan May E. Salvador and Gertrudes Libang as representatives of Gabriela and Reylan Vergara, Cristina Palabay, Ronco Clamor, Edita Burgos, Gabriela Krista Dalena, Jose Marie Callueng and Wilfredo Ruazol of Karapatan.
In June 2019, the Court of Appeals (CA) junked the petition for writs of amparo and habeas data filed by the three groups against various government officials making up the NTF-ELCAC.
In a 24-page decision dated June 28, the appellate court’s 14th Division stated President Rodrigo Duterte’s duty to uphold national interests and the general welfare of the people, noting that “the petitioners failed to establish (the) accountability of the President, as commander in chief directly under the doctrine of command responsibility.”
Esperon earlier alleged that the RMP collected donations from international organizations to run 55 Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc. (Salugpungan) whose operations were earlier ordered suspended by the Department of Education.
Citing reports of the military and police on the ground and the testimonies of the Mindanao Indigenous People’s Counsel elders and leaders, Esperon said there was an unmistakable pattern of training anti-government armed rebels by these schools.
As an example, Esperon said these schools have a different “national” anthem which they teach to students.
Students are also taught assembly and disassembly of firearms and learn the alphabets with different anti-government slogans starting with “A for armas (weapon)”.
Esperon said the schools do not issue credentials to students which would allow their wards to take further studies in government recognized schools.
The CPP-NPA has been listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)