RIGHTS’ group Karapatan, along with other respondents on Thursday, filed its counter-affidavit to the perjury complaint by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.
Esperon filed his complaint in July in relation to the Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data petition previously lodged by members of Karapatan, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and Gabriela before the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals against President Rodrigo Duterte, Esperon and other high-ranking military and government officials.
Esperon claimed that the RMP, a religious group, misrepresented itself as a non-stock, non-profit corporation, citing a certification from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued on Aug. 15, 2019 , which said that it has revoked the group’s registration on Aug. 20, 2003.
Kathy Panguban, the respondents’ legal counsel, said the group has refuted the allegations and has submitted documents to prove RMP’s legitimacy.
Edita Burgos, one of the respondents and also the mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos, expressed confidence that the case would be dismissed because they are telling the truth and have the documents to prove it.
Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, one of the respondents of the complaint claimed the perjury charge was baseless and was merely a “retaliatory suit meant to harass the organizations.”
“This retaliatory suit, founded on trumped up allegations that do not affect the legal standing of the petitioners. We call on the DoJ to immediately dismiss this petition so all can go back to the more fundamental matters of red-tagging, harassment, and killing perpetrated by state forces.
Aside from Palabay and Burgos, other respondents in the perjury case are Reylan Vergara, Roneo Clamor, Gabriela Krista Dalena, Edita Burgos, Jose Callueng, Wilfredo Ruazol, Elisa Tita Lubi, Reylan Vergara, Sister Elenita Belardo, Sister Emma Cupin, Joan May Salvador and Gertrudes Ranjo-Liang.
Esperon’s camp is expected to submit a reply affidavit on September 5.
Meanwhile, Esperon did not appear during the hearing. Major General Antonio Parlade of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, who was also a respondent to the amparo petition, came on his behalf instead.
Parlade attempted to talk to the nuns of the RMP outside the DoJ to “enlighten” them that they were being used by communist organizations. The nuns, however, refused saying that the case is in court. DIVINA NOVA JOY DELA CRUZ