The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) appealed for prayers and support as it faces another court hearing this week over money laundering charges filed by the government in 2020.
“Please continue to pray with us for these legal battles, for our ministries, and for the communities where we serve,” said the religious organization in a statement aired over Radio Veritas 846.
“We push forward in good faith, onward in the journey with the rural poor toward justice, peace, and the integrity of creation,” added the group.
On Wednesday, January 25, a Manila court is scheduled to hear the civil forfeiture charges filed by the government’s Anti-Money Laundering Council three years ago.
In 2020, a civil forfeiture case has been filed against RMP’s 15 bank accounts over allegations of “financing terrorist activities.”
The RMP is a religious organization, which is inter-congregational and inter-diocesan in character, of religious women and men, priests, and lay people that was founded on Aug. 15, 1969.
It is a “mission partner” of the Conference of Major Superiors in the Philippines, formerly the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines.
“We have more ‘goliaths’ to slay, especially as we push back against false testimony levied against us under the Anti-Money Laundering Council,” said the group, adding that its “faith remains in God.”
“God’s providence and our calling to serve the rural poor will continue to sustain us for the legal and bureaucratic battles ahead,” read the RMP statement.
“Our joy and gratitude overflow for all those who journey with us, in these difficult times,” it said.
Earlier this month, a Quezon City court acquitted Good Shepherd Sister Elenita ‘Elen’ Belardo, RMP national coordinator, of perjury charges after the prosecution failed to establish “beyond reasonable doubt” that the accused “made a willful and deliberate assertion of a falsehood.”
The case stems from a complaint filed by former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon who claimed that leaders of the RMP, human rights group Karapatan, and women’s group Gabriela lied in their petition for a “writ of amparo” before the Supreme Court.
Esperon — who was a respondent in the amparo petition — accused the activists of calling RMP a “registered non-stock, non-profit organization” even as the Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly revoked the organization’s certificate of registration in 2003.