‘Iloilo is being destroyed’

About 500 Ilonggos joined a prayer rally for “peace, rule of law and justice” and to show support for Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog

ILOILO CITY – There was no sound system or even a megaphone and the speaker had to stand on a bench to be heard.

Some already went home because there was no clear schedule or program.

The prayer rally for “peace, rule of law and justice” had little semblance of organization but hundreds who came did not mind.

“We are praying not just for Mayor (Jed Patrick) Mabilog but for Iloilo City as whole,” said Normandy Notes, an evangelical pastor who led a prayer rally at the historic Plaza Libertad here.

“We are saddened with what has been happening and because Iloilo has been unfairly labeled as most shabulized,” he said.

He said the repeated statements of the President describing Iloilo as having the worst drug problem in the country are affecting how other people view all Ilonggos.

“I have been living here for 30 years and we all know what is true,” he said.

At least 300 gathered at the plaza, many of whom lit candles while praying.

At least 200 more had earlier attended Mass at the San Jose Church a few meters from the plaza.

Those who attended included friends and schoolmates of Mabilog, businessmen, civic leaders and religious groups. But many others just came there in response to invitations from social media.

“The bullying must stop. They are instilling fear so that we will not speak up,” a landowner said.

“They’re not just destroying Jed. Iloilo is being destroyed,” said business executive Manny Gruenberg.

The prayer rally was held two days after the assignment of Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido as officer-in-charge of the Iloilo City Police Office.