The Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) congregation lauded the acquittal of their confrere, Sr. Elenita Belardo, from perjury charges, calling it a victory ‘for God’s little ones’.
“The recent court decision is a glimmer of hope amidst the dark times our nation is living in,” said the RGS Philippines-Japan Province in a statement.
“The acquittal is not only a victory of those accused but of all ‘God’s little ones’ for whom and with whom this struggle is being fought and continued,” it said.
A Quezon City court on Jan. 9 acquitted Sr. Belardo and nine other human rights activists of perjury charges filed by the country’s former national security adviser, Hermogenes Esperon Jr, in 2019.
The 83-year-old nun is the former national director of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP).
The RGS said Sr. Belardo is “a gentle follower of Christ” who had been working with the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized “and in doing so caught the ire of the mighty and powerful”.
“She has inspired us with her faith, courage and unwavering commitment to the farmers, fisherfolks and indigenous peoples whom she untiringly served through the RMP all these years,” it added.
The congregation also reaffirmed their commitment “to promote justice” and to “help bring about change in whatever condemns others to live a marginalized life.”
“In the spirit of synodality, along with fellow church workers and human rights defenders, we continue walking with and among the poor, listening to and including voices from the margins and holding our ground despite threats and political repression,” it said.