Cotabato prov’l administrator declared persona non grata

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/31 July) – The provincial board of Cotabato on Tuesday declared the provincial administrator a ‘persona non grata’ for allegedly defaming the body during his recent radio program.

The declaration means acting provincial administrator Basilio Obello Jr. is no longer welcome at the capitol and at the board.

Obello hosts a block time program, “We Love NC,” aired in at least four radio stations in the city during Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

In a statement posted on the Facebook page with the account name Lala Cares, the board accused Obello of attacking the integrity of the body when he said, “ang inyong ka-bright, kabugo lang nako na (you’re being bright is just me being stupid).”

It said Obello made such remark after the board refused for the second time to confirm his appointment for lack of pertinent documents.

Obello, however, said somebody from the board took those papers when he appeared during its regular session two weeks ago.

The board also denied politics was behind its rejection of Obello’s appointment.

It said it was unfair for the administrator to say that Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco’s political foe had spent millions just to ensure the governor’s graft case at the Sandiganbayan would proceed.

Catamco ran against Rogelio Talino, father of then governor and now Vice Governor Lala Taliño-Mendoza, in the May 13 midterm elections.

The Sandiganbayan ordered on July 12 a 90-day preventive suspension on Catamco, who is facing graft and malversation charges for her alleged involvement in the fertilizer fund scam in 2004.

Catamco’s company allegedly supplied overpriced fertilizers to Poro town in Cebu in 2004. She was then a businesswoman married to a certain Pompey Perez.

Nicholei ‘Niki’ Marasigan, the governor’s lawyer said a copy of the suspension order has not reached her office.

Alo Abdullah, provincial officer of the Department of the Interior and Local Government also said he has not received the order.

Obello meanwhile had issued a public apology to the board and Taliño-Mendoza, its presiding officer.

He said he was sorry for uttering such remarks and that he still holds the board in high respect.

Catamco has designated Marasigan to replace Obello. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)