MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/04 July) – Many times in the past few months, dxDB-Malaybalay news director Diomedes “Boy” Demit had tried to get the side of the late Mayor Mario Okinlay of Impasugong, Bukidnon on issues thrown against the official. Okinlay refused to respond despite efforts by the radio station to reach him.
On Friday morning, however, two days after his death, Okinlay’s widow and town councilor Julia Abasola-Okinlay broke her silence and castigated Demit over his own program.
She even snapped back, “Sinsero ba kana?” (Is that sincere?) after Demit expressed condolence for her husband’s death.
The mayor was ambushed Wednesday in Barangay Bontongon, Impasugong by suspected New People’s Army guerrillas.
Mrs. Okinlay said she was disappointed with the anchorman, saying he had destroyed their image.
“Grabe ang imong pagdaut. Unsa ang imong katuyoan? Mga politikong dili makadaug sa amo, sigeg tawag sa imo para dauton mi,” (You portrayed us very badly. What’s your intention? Were you told by politicians who couldn’t win against us to destroy us?”
“Not all media are like you. The people voted us because they trust us. Do you think you will become popular through your commentaries?” she continued in her 20-minute outburst which was mostly in Cebuano, and during which Demit did not interrupt her.
The councilor challenged Demit to come and see the records of financial transactions of the municipal government.
“Ask the COA (Commission on Audit) if we have been charged with stealing money,” she said, adding their personal income came from farming.
Demit had repeatedly asked the late mayor to answer allegations that a food establishment supposedly owned by the local government was issuing officials receipts that were in the name of a private person.
He had also sought a clarification from the slain official on the status of mining operations in the municipality which had reportedly caused environmental destruction.
The mayor never issued any statement in response to such allegations.
“It pains us to know that you’re accusing us of being bad and corrupt,” she said.
“You claimed to be concerned with the environment. Show me the trees you have planted and may I ask what you have done for the environment…In 1992 I became the most outstanding farmer here. I planted trees, we love our environment,” Mrs. Okinlay continued.
Demit was one of the residents of San Fernando town who went to Manila in the late 1980s to stage a fast to demand a stop to commercial logging in Bukidnon. The government conceded by imposing a logging moratorium in the province which has remained in effect.
“Is it our fault if investors who have complete documents come here?” Mrs. Okinlay said without specifying if she was referring to mining companies. “We know what’s legal and illegal. So you must define what’s legal and illegal.”
“I’m not accepting your [expression of] condolence. After months of attacking Mario, I don’t believe you’re sincere,” she said.
“God put us [in this position]…Whoever killed Mario, we leave him to God. We’re full of love, we didn’t expect this to happen.
“This is the only time we will speak so don’t cut us off…What kind of person are you? Are you a Christian? What have you done as a person to your family?
“We believe it’s God who gave us power so we can serve in government. It’s just sad that you destroyed us. God can forgive but I will never forgive you, Boy, for what you did to Mario and to me. You touched even petty issues to destroy us.”
“I’m not condemning the whole station but only Boy Demit and anybody who said bad things about Mayor Mario. I’m not condemning the whole media because not all are rotten, it’s only you Boy Demit. You’re the only rotten [element] in media. If you’re a genuine media [practitioner], you should have approached us for information,” she said.
Mrs. Okinlay also alluded to then vice mayor and now Mayor Anthony Uy, Oliver Aldovino and a certain Martinez as the people behind the supposed demolition job against her husband.
She said she could not be sure who really killed the mayor citing “many interests” are at stake.
As of Friday afternoon the NPA had not issued any statement admitting or denying responsibility in the killing.
After Mrs. Okinlay had finished speaking, Demit said he had obtained documents as basis for the issues thrown at the late mayor. He also denied personally knowing Uy.
He repeated his expression of condolence to the Okinlay family.
On Thursday, Uy took his oath before Gov. Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr. as the new mayor of Impasugong. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)