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No need to tag her persona non-grata


BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog’s love for his land and people is impressive, unequalled even. He truly possesses the moral qualifications to shout: “My City, My Pride” which is now screamed by countless tarpaulin streamers planted all over the city.

Recently, he showed that love by lodging a “diplomatic protest” against a British subject and resident of New Zealand for casting the city in bad light. In so making the diplomatic protest, the good mayor usurped the sovereign power of the state which alone can transmit that message to another state.

Indeed, that’s really bad publicity when the woman, never mind her name, hugged the headlines in her adoptive country that she was trafficked and sold as sex slave in the Philippines.

And cursed be Iloilo City and Province, because she confessed that much of her alleged travails happened in Iloilo City and in Passi, the latter,  component city of Iloilo Province. According to her, she was raped and sold to prostitution in Iloilo; men took turns ravishing her one after another for P5,000 each.

She went to Iloilo, according  to her, to study an Ilonggo martial art that specializes on blades. Her story is just too incredible even for a story teller, this 30-year old who stands 5’2” and qualifies for the WBO light-heavyweight championship with her weight at 200 pounds. She is not a victim but a lying fat man.

The city council appears to have ignored Mabilog to declare the British woman persona non-grata. Neither did the Philippine government, if its Department of Foreign Affairs did hear of Mabilog’s scream against her, gave a hoot at her ranting.

With the adamant national government, Mabilog turned to the city council asking it to pass a resolution declaring his pet peeve “persona non-grata”.

If by this time the local legislature is not keen in responding positively to Mabilog’s request, Ilonggos should be happy because their sangguniang panglungsod still has men and women who truly use their brains. (After this piece was written, the city council did accede to Mabilog and so declared the woman persona non grata.)

The British pet peeve of Mabilog already made a fool of herself; she already exposed herself as a charlatan with her tall tale. Why should the likes of Kgd. Perla Zulueta waste her time debating on whether or not to declare the ex-tourist persona non-grata?

“Persona non-grata”, in the world of diplomacy, is an act of state and is leveled only on public officials of another country like ministers, diplomats and consuls. When a minister or ambassador is so declared by a foreign country, that means, he or she is no longer welcomed, hence, must pack up and leave.

Private individuals like our heroine from New Zealand scarcely deserve that honor.

Private individuals who are wanted for committing crimes are merely blacklisted by the Interpol and collared in any port of entry around the world.There is no need to accord them the title “persona non-grata”.

Had the city council acceded to Mabilog’s request declaring the ex-tourist persona non-grata, it would merely be replicating the feat of the sangguniang panlalawigan of Antique which tagged two reporters, Ely Suyom and Rey Alcalde, persona non-grata in a resolution sometime in 2007. Majority of the Antique sangguniang panlalawigan were irked that the duo constantly needled the butts of then governor Sally Zaldivar Perez and her allies.

The declaration did not have any legal effect. Guards tried to enforce that by barring the two reporters from entering the capitol. However, the two insisted to get in. They brought along with them then Rep. (now Gov.) Exequiel Javier who lectured the guards that the provincial capitol was a public place and every citizen, much less a reporter, was entitled to enter it. They were let in.

In the case of Mabilog’s pet peeve, even if the city council declared her persona non-grata, that still cannot prevent the Department of Foreign Affairs from issuing her a visa to enter the country. And once her visa is granted or renewed, nothing can prevent her from revisiting Iloilo.

She already did herself in. She’s the one creating her own shadows. There’s no need to torment her further.

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