Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog. NESTOR BURGOS / INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
ILOILO CITY – Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has not fled to Japan where he is living a “luxurious life” as alleged by President Duterte, according to the beleaguered chief executive’s spokesman on Tuesday.
But talk has been circulating here that Mabilog’s wife Marivic and their two children have either left Iloilo City or are already out of the country.
Lawyer Mark Piad said the mayor left on an official trip to Yokohama City in Japan on Aug. 30 to attend a conference of CityNet, a regional network of cities and organizations focusing on sustainable urban development.
His return flight was scheduled for Wednesday but Piad said there could be an adjustment because there were potential investors and Ilonggos in Japan who wanted to meet with the mayor.
“It could be just a day or two but nothing is final,” Piad, who spoke to Mabilog by phone on Monday, told the INQUIRER.
The INQUIRER sent separate text and private messages through Facebook to Mabilog and Marivic for comment but received no response.
In a speech at the birthday celebration of Davao Rep. Karlo Alexie “Kaka” Nograles in Davao City on Sept. 2, the President again mentioned Mabilog, saying the mayor’s house was “more grandiose” than Malacañang.
The President, who has ordered a lifestyle check on Mabilog, has claimed that the mayor’s controversial house was bigger than Malacañang Palace, the official residence and office of the Philippine presidents.
“It was because of drugs. Where else would he get the money from, his business?” the President said in Bisaya, as translated in a transcript by the Presidential Communications Operation Office.
But those who have been inside the mayor’s house have dismissed the claim that his three-story house along the Iloilo River is as big or grandiose as Malacañang Palace.
In discussing the illegal drug trade, the President again mentioned Mabilog as having fled to Japan.
“Muingon sila, ‘Ang kanang mga pobre.’ Ay, ang mga pobre ma’y magdistribute . Alang-alang mga drug lord na mga dato na man na. Pareha anang Mabilog. Eh ‘di tua sa Japan. Nisibat na to, pahayahay. (They’ll say, ‘Those are only the poor. But the poor are the ones who will distribute. It’s not the drug lords who will do that because they’re already very rich, just like Mabilog who has escaped to Japan and living luxuriously there’),” the President said.
Piad said resigning from office or fleeing was “out of the question” for Mabilog.
He said there was also no discussion on any plans of the mayor not to return to the country.
“It’s like throwing away all he has worked for to help Iloilo,” Piad said.
He said there was concern about Mabilog’s safety and security but he said the mayor “left his fate to God.”
Piad said he did not know where Marivic and her two children were, saying he last saw her on Aug. 31.
“She is a private individual and I respect their privacy. I only spoke with the mayor,” he said.
NBI agents visited the Mabilog residence on Aug. 31 as part of the lifestyle check ordered by the President on Mabilog.
A few days earlier, the President again accused Mabilog of being a “drug protector” and ordered the assignment of controversial police official Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City.
Mabilog has repeatedly denied the President’s allegations and has insisted that their house appears bigger than it really is. The couple has also stressed that the house was built on their joint earnings, especially that Marivic worked for more than 20 years in Canada, rising as vice president for a geodetic engineering firm.
Marivic Facebook post
Marivic posted a cryptic post on her Facebook account at 1:24 a.m. on Sept. 1, apparently in reaction to the events.
“This was the longest 32 hours. At first I said to myself that we don’t deserve this. All we really just wanted was to make Iloilo better and every Ilonggo proud of their own city. We gave our all and more.
“But looking back, recalling every second of the last thirty hours, I got to know real people at their very best. I got to realize that indeed, there are people in our circle willing to risk their lives, career, well-being and safety so that we get to live another day,” she said in her post.
She then thanked those who supported them.
“The last thirty hours was a journey of love, friendships and above all, citizenship. A (citizenship) to a world of true humanity. Good night and I thank God for those who are with us in this journey. Salut!” Marivic said.
On the evening of Sept. 1, police gunned down alleged Western Visayas drug lord Richard Prevendido in an operation at a house at Landheights Subdivision in Jaro District in this city.
In a press conference on Sept. 2 on the killing of Prevendido, the Western Visayas police also announced that Espenido’s assignment to Iloilo was canceled upon orders of the police national headquarters./ac
- Published in Latest News
- Written by Nestor P. Burgos Jr. - @inquirerdotnetInquirer Visayas
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