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Mabilog’s wife, children leave PH over ‘security concerns’

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ILOILO CITY -- The wife and children of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog have left the country amid security concerns, according to a source who knew of their trip.

The source, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons, said Marivic Mabilog and the couple’s daughter and son left the country shortly after the mayor left for Japan last week.

“There have been reports of tangible threats against the mayor so they decided to leave as well as a precautionary measure,” the source told the INQUIRER.

The source asked that the destination of the family be withheld but said the entire family intends to return to Iloilo City.

The mayor’s spokesperson lawyer Mark Piad earlier told the INQUIRER that Mabilog left on an official trip for Yokohama City in Japan on August 30 to attend an international conference of the CityNet, a regional network of cities and organizations focusing on sustainable urban development.

The mayor was expected to be back either on Wednesday or Thursday.

Piad has denied an allegation of President Duterte that Mabilog “fled to Japan where he is living a luxurious life.”

The couple did not reply to repeated messages of the INQUIRER for comment.

But in a Facebook post on Sept.1, Marivic hinted of a long trip.

“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.

The President has repeatedly and publicly accused Mabilog of being a drug protector and tagging Iloilo City as “most shabulized” and “bedrock” of illegal drugs.

During the commemoration of National Heroes Day on Aug. 28, the President ordered the assignment of controversial police official Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City after again naming Mabilog as a drug protector.

“…You want to be assigned in Iloilo because Mabilog has been identified as a protector. Will he live? I just want to ask because they might again put the blame on me,” the President had said.

Espenido has become controversial because of his recent record of assignment where alleged drug lords were killed in police operations, including Mayor Rolando Espinosa in Albuera town in Leyte and Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 15 others in Ozamiz City.

Espenido has denied that he asked to be assigned in Iloilo.

The Philippine National Police canceled Espenido’s new assignment on Sept. 2, a day after the killing in a police operation of alleged Western Visayas drug lord Richard Prevendido.

Questions had also hounded Espenido’s planned designation as chief of the Iloilo City Police Office as his rank was two levels lower than the required rank of Senior Superintendent.

The President has also ordered a lifestyle check on Mabilog, especially on his controversial house at Barangay Tap-oc in Molo District along the Iloilo River.

Mr. Duterte has even claimed that Mabilog’s house was “more grandiose” than Malacañang Palace, a claim easily dismissed by those who have seen and been inside the mayor’s house.

National Bureau of Investigation agents subsequently visited the mayor’s house on August 31 to conduct an ocular inspection.

Mabilog was among the officials who were named by the President in August last year as among those involved in illegal drugs.

He has repeatedly denied the allegations but has said that he was “remorseful” if his efforts against illegal drugs were not enough.

Mabilog and the city government maintained that they have been actively implementing programs and activities against illegal drugs.

The city government is among the first to put up community-based rehabilitation centers in each of the seven territorial districts for drug users with light to moderate levels of addiction.

More than a year after the President had accused Mabilog and three other mayors in Iloilo of drug links, no case has been filed against them but the President has continued his tirades against Mabilog. – Inquirer.net

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