By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has launched another stinging rebuke of former Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog, saying his flight could be a sign of guilt.
“Kung wala siyang kasalanan sabi ng — bakit siya sumibat? [If he is innocent, why did he leave?],” the President said about Mabilog during the PDP-Laban campaign rally in Marikina City Wednesday night.
Mabilog is included in the President’s list of politicians allegedly involved in illegal drugs. Administrative complaints have reportedly been filed against the drug-linked politicians before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The President acknowledged though that Mabilog has already been removed from office by the Office of the Ombudsman. “Besides he was already terminated by the Ombudsman. Hindi — ewan ko kung ay ang Ombudsman oh — ‘wag tayong mag-ano diyan, istrikto ‘yan [I don’t know about the Ombudsman. Let’s not.. they are strict],” he added.
In his speech, the President criticized anew Mabilog’s lavish lifestyle, rejecting the former mayor’s claim that he was poor.
“Ayaw ninyong maniwala, kung mapunta kayong Iloilo tingnan ninyo ng — ang sabi niya mahirap siya. Tingnan mo ang bahay niya — ang mansion niya [If you don’t believe me, go to Iloilo and take a look at his house, his mansion. He claimed he was poor],” he said.
“‘Yan ba ang mahirap? [Is that poor?] Look at his house, look at his mansion,” he added.
The President earlier said he was not sure if Mabilog has flown to the United States or Canada. But he questioned the US embassy in Manila why the former mayor was given a visa if he was really in America.
Duterte previously accused Mabilog as a suspected drug protector who allowed Iloilo to become the “most shabulized” province in the country.
The local official has yet to surface since he reportedly left the country out of fear. The camp of Mabilog has denied the President’s allegations.
Mabilog was later removed from office by the Ombudsman for an administrative case involving alleged unexplained wealth.