By Tara Yap
Iloilo City – With Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog exceeding the allowed number of absences, Vice Mayor Jose Espinosa III has assumed the full functions of mayor.
Espinosa issued a memorandum informing the public and government agencies of his new role.
Espinosa has been acting mayor for more than a month-a-half. While he has signed important documents including contracts on behalf of the city government, his function was still limited.
Citing the Local Government Code, Espinosa said he can now hire, suspend or fire city hall workers.
Espinosa also has authority over the city police. Mabilog was stripped of his control over the police when President Duterte named him as a drug protector.
Espinosa has implemented several anti-drug initiatives, including requesting the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to carry out a surprise inspection at city hall.
He has also ordered the demolition of ukay-ukay stalls in district plazas.
Mabilog left the country late August to attend two international conferences, but did not return after the President stepped up his attacks on the mayor’s alleged drug links.