Defensor: I was invited to MMDA meeting

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Defensor: I was invited to MMDA meeting
Defeated Quezon City mayoral candidate Mike Defensor is shown at a meeting with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority officials in a photo that has gone viral on social media. In a series of Facebook posts yesterday, chief presidential legal counsel Juan Ponce Enrile questioned Defensor’s presence at the MMDA official function.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Former Anakalusugan congressman Mike Defensor on Thursday justified his presence at a recent meeting of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, saying he was invited by acting MMDA Chairman Carlo Dimayuga III.

Defensor issued the statement after President Marcos’ chief legal counsel Juan Ponce Enrile questioned in what capacity the former congressman attended the meeting after a photo of the event went viral on social media.

The photo shows Defensor seated beside Dimayuga, who was appointed by the President last week.

Dimayuga was Defensor’s chief of staff when he was Anakalusugan party-list representative.

“I already clarified with Manong Johnny what my role was during the meeting. First of all, I am not an official, I am not a consultant and I am not holding office in MMDA, that is prohibited by law,” he said in Filipino in an interview with GMA-7, referring to the one-year ban on entering government service for those who ran for an electoral post and lost.

Defensor lost to reelected Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte in the May 9 elections.

Defensor said Dimayuga invited him to the meeting for his input on the resumption of face-to-face classes. He claimed to have had experience on the issue as a former chief of staff of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

According to Defensor, he was not instructed by Marcos to help the MMDA, “but even before, the President told us to help the government even in our private capacity.”

‘Only a visitor’

Dimayuga, on the other hand, said Defensor was simply visiting the MMDA office when he was caught on camera.

“Nagkataong binisita lang niya ako noong araw na ‘yon (It just happened that he was visiting me on that day),” Dimayuga said in an interview over radio dzRH yesterday.

Dimayuga said Defensor was among many people from whom he sought advice on how to manage traffic in Metro Manila in anticipation of the resumption of classes.

“Alam ninyo ang experience niya sa government napakatagal at napakalalim (His experience in government is lengthy and extensive),” he added.

Dimayuga said he was embarrassed because Defensor’s visit was interpreted with malice. He assured the public that Defensor was “not connected to the MMDA.” – Ghio Ong


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