By LITO RULONA
THE provincial board yesterday declared its own secretary “persona non grata” because of his Facebook posts.
The persona non grata declaration, normally used in diplomacy as a proscription against an unwanted foreigner entering or staying in the country, was made against Sangguniang Panlalawigan secretary Ernesto Sotto Jr. on the motion of provincial board member Virginia Dumadag.
Dumadag brought to the provincial board’s attention Sotto’s Facebook posts which she called “grievous,” “malicious,” and cause “dishonor to the people of the province.”
Dumadag took note of Sotto’s posts which she said was directed at 1st District Rep. Peter Unabia and Misamis Oriental’s people.
One of the posts, she said, reads: “Most of Misamisnons are whores who spread their legs to the highest bidder.”
Dumadag accused Sotto of engaging in partisan politics. She said his posts included sarcastic daily prayers, messages and comments in favor candidates for vice governor and congressman in the province’s 1st District.
Sotto, a lawyer by profession, is directly under losing congressional candidate Vice Gov. Jose Mari Pelaez. Pelaez’s brother Jeremy, a provincial member, won in the vice gubernatorial race against Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano’s brother-in-law President Elipe.
“In the succeeding days after election day when the results became apparent that his congressional candidate was in the losing end, Sotto posted damaging statements and malicious lies directly addressed to the people of the province and to the person of newly elect Congressman Christian S. Unabia,” Dumadag said.
She said Sotto’s other posts included the following:
• “You will never get my respect as Congressman. You won because of money and not your qualifications.”
• “Drug money wins.”
• “Election take-aways for the first district of Misamis Oriental – 1. Do not provide genuine public service for the people of the first district of Misamis Oriental. Just dangle your money and buy their votes on the day of the election.”
• “Misamisons in the first district elect politicians and not genuine public servants. This is the reason why the First District will remain undeveloped and underserved.”
Dumadag said said Sotto’s Facebook posts were conduct unbecoming of government employees.
She said Sotto is from Albay and is therefore a “stranger” in Misamis Oriental. As such, she said, “he should have been more extra-cautious in his language.”