Pasay court bars Drilon accuser, convicted twice of libel, from leaving PH
ILOILO CITY—A court in Pasay City, Metro Manila has issued a hold-departure order against a former Iloilo provincial administrator, who had been convicted twice of libel for social media posts and blogs accusing opposition Sen. Franklin Drilon of involvement in irregularities in infrastructure projects in the province.
In a one-page order on Dec. 9, 2020, Judge Rowena Nieves Tan, presiding judge of the Pasay Regional Trial Court Branch 11, directed the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to stop Manuel “Boy” Mejorada if he tried to leave the country “until further orders” from the court.
The court furnished copies of the order to the Department of Justice and Department of Foreign Affairs.
On Jan. 25, the RTC Branch 118 convicted Mejorada, former Iloilo provincial administrator, of four counts of online libel for his Facebook posts accusing Drilon of corruption.
The court sentenced Mejorada to a prison term of a minimum of two years and five months to a maximum of four years and five months.
Mejorada has eluded arrest after the Supreme Court on Sept. 2, 2019 ruled with finality to affirm a 2017 Court of Appeals decision which upheld a separate libel conviction for Mejorada also by the Pasay RTC for another case filed by Drilon.
The Pasay City RTC had found Mejorada guilty of four counts of libel in relation to his social media posts and blogs accusing Drilon of involvement in alleged irregularities in infrastructure projects in Iloilo.
The RTC sentenced Mejorada to a jail term of a minimum of two years, four months and one day to a maximum of four years and two months.
The Supreme Court had said in its resolution that no further pleadings will be entertained by the high court and ordered the issuance of an entry of final judgment on the case.
“If imprisonment be the price for courageously exposing the truth, I have prepared myself and my family to accept my fate,” Mejorada had said in an earlier statement issued after the Supreme Court resolution.
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