ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Whilst the Senate blue ribbon committee is performing a hearing for the alleged overpriced construction of the Iloilo Convention Center involving Senate President Franklin Drilon, City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog encouraged Ilonggos to declare Drilon’s accuser as persona non grata.
Mabilog, within his Facebook account, posted this: “Voice of the Ilonggos: Those who would like to declare Mr. Manuel ‘Boy’ Mejorada persona non grata (and his cohorts) for being a disgraced non-Ilonggo who is trying to destroy the reputation and good name of Iloilo as a city and as a province, please like, comment and more importantly share so the world may know what kind of evil person he is, may do so! (sic)”
In diplomacy, the definition of persona non grata, practically means “an unwelcome person,” but refers to a foreign person whose entering or residing in a certain country is forbidden by that country’s government. In non-diplomatic sense, making reference to someone as persona non grata is to say that he or she is ostracized.
Mabilog added that he pities Mejorada for his selfishness. “How disgraceful it is that you have not proven your allegations. Especially if you will be declared persona non grata of the city and province (of Iloilo). That is the most humiliating thing that will ever happen to you,” he wrote.
The mayor’s Facebook post acquired around 2,000 likes, in excess of 300 shares and many hundreds of comments, at this moment. While other people wished to weigh things first prior to making any moves, many commented by favoring Mabilog’s proposal.
As told by Facebook user Roy Carnaje Miranda: “Precisely the Ilonggos really hates this kind of person and definitely we have to condemn his wrongdoings and instead appreciation for our local leaders for the efforts exerted that Iloilo will again be the Queen City of the South. What he did right now is a shame to all Ilonggos and I go to declare him ‘persona non grata.’”
Facebook user Bryan Oh stated: “I’m not in favor of Boy Mejorada stating that Iloilo is the cradle of corruption, but can we just wait for the results of the investigation? And also, your (Mabilog_ post suggests and encourages Ilonggos to tag Mejorada as persona non-grata, may I know why are you encouraging the citizens of Iloilo to do this? Are you trying to sugarcoat something or are you hiding something? If you know and if you are confident that Iloilo is not as what Mejorada has described just let the due process finish. And if the result states that Mejorada is lying then let’s go ahead and slap his face. … I hope it will not be the other way around. Go Mayor Jed, make Iloilo proud!”
Nestor Tumampil Fernandez, however, stated: “No question Mr. Mejorada has a questionable background as a former public official (formerly provincial administrator). But does it mean a prostitute cannot be raped? Come on … let transparency work here. If indeed Mejorada’s accusation is baseless, then file a case against him … That’s how a democracy should work.”
Even before, Mejorada stated that he didn’t expect the senators to gang up on Senate President Franklin Drilon in a committee investigation. “All I ask is that they objectively listen to my testimony, look at my evidence, ask Drilon, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. to respond to the issues I raise,” he added.
The 3, in conjunction with Tourism Director Mark Lapid; Public Works Undersecretary Jaime Pacanan, chairman of the DPWH national bids and awards committee; Public Works Undersecretary Romeo Momo; DPWH Regional Director Edilberto Tayao; Marilyn Celiz; DPWH-Iloilo BAC regional chairman; William Coscoluella, president of William Coscolluela & Associates, the ICC architect; and Efren Canlas, president of Hilmarcs Construction, were charged with plunder and graft on the alleged overpriced ICC construction.
As part of his statement before the Senate blue ribbon committee, Mejorada said his purpose is to “unravel a complex fraudulent transaction in which Republic Act No. 9184 and its Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations were transgressed and mocked.”
Mejorada mentioned he already wrote about the irregularities he uncovered in the procurement and implementation of this project, since more than a year ago. “Drilon even filed four counts of libel against me for writing about these and other irregularities in the procurement of infrastructure projects in Iloilo prior to the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office,” he added.
Mejorada said he was sorry to inform the people that Iloilo City and province are now becoming a cradle of corruption. “Hundreds of millions of pesos are lost from the national coffers due to corruption,” he added in.