Iloilo City declares Drilon accuser 'persona non grata'
MANILA, Philippines – The Iloilo City Council declared on Tuesday, November 18, former provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada persona non grata after he described the city as a "nest of corruption" at the Senate hearing on the overpriced Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) project.
Iloilo City Councilor Jay Treñas told Rappler that the city council approved on Tuesday morning the resolution that declares Mejorada an unwelcome person in the city.
Treñas said the resolution was a product of the "strong sentiment of the council due to the way [Mejorada] acted in Senate." Mejorada was summoned to testify in the Senate on November 13 after he accused Senator Franklin Drilon to be behind the overpriced project.
In his opening statement in the Senate, Mejorada said: "Nalulungkot ako na sabihin sa sambayanan na pugad ng kurapsyon ang Iloilo City (I'm sad to tell the nation that Iloilo City is a nest of corruption)."
Among those angered by Mejorada's statement were government officials and businessmen in the city.
"This statement [in the Senate] is without evidence. With all people listening and watching him, we thought we had to do something," Treñas said.
Mejorada served as Iloilo provincial administrator from 2001 to 2010 under former governor Niel Tupas Sr. He reportedly served as occasional spokesperson for the former governor.
Mejorada filed in October charges against Drilon before the Office of the Ombudsman, claiming that the P679.8-million ($15.20 million)* ICC is overpriced. But when asked to appear in the Senate and present evidence to back his allegation, he said he had nothing to show. He was even criticized for citing Wikipedia and gossip as sources for his allegations.
Drilon denied that he caused the project to be overpriced, and claimed that the government even gained P521 million from it. – Rappler.com