Drilon files cyber libel complaint vs former Iloilo provincial official

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday, July 29, filed a cyber libel complaint against former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada, who was already sentenced to imprisonment for libel over a previous case filed by the senator.

In his complaint before Pasay City Prosecutor Elmer Cris Rillo, Drilon said that Mejorada continued to "maliciously accuse" him of corruption, despite being convicted of libel. 

Mejorada published videos on YouTube accusing Drilon of corruption, overpricing, and other anomalies. "The imputation of these crimes is part of the continuous and deliberate efforts of Mr. Mejorada to injure my reputation and character," Drilon said.

According to Drilon, Mejorada uploaded to his Youtube account the following videos:

"I was already taken aback by the individual titles of the videos themselves, as these already clearly show an imputation on my person of a crime, or of a vice or defect," Drilon said.

The minority leader said that Mejorada continued to publish libelous statements, and "incessantly republished" previous content already deemed libelous by a court.

Mejorada served as Iloilo provincial administrator from 2001 to 2010 under former governor Niel Tupas Sr.

Mejorada filed in October 2014 charges against Drilon before the Office of the Ombudsman, claiming that the senator had a hand in the supposedly overpriced P679.8-million Ilolilo Convention Center. But when asked to appear in the Senate and present evidence to back his allegation, he said he had nothing to show.

Mejorada was even criticized for citing Wikipedia and gossip as sources for his allegations. The Ombudsman dismissed his claims against Drilon as "baseless and malicious."

Drilon previously filed a libel case against the former Iloilo provincial administor. A Pasay court convicted him in 2014 and sentenced him to two to 4 years imprisonment.

Mejorada appealed the verdict before the Court of Appeals (CA), but the appelate court upheld the decision, even extending his sentence to 4 years and two months. 

Mejorada has said he intended to go to the Supreme Court to contest the CA verdict. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.