Palace assures Iloilo City mayor’s safety, says ‘rule of law prevails’

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MALACANANG assured Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of his safety amid alleged threats to his security following President Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated allegations that he was a drug protector.

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“Of course (Mabilog would be safe),” Palace Spokesman Ernesto Abella said when asked about the Iloilo mayor’s concerns over his safety.

“This is a pretty democratic country. As far as the evidence shows rule of law prevails,” Abella said in a press conference.

Abella’s assurance comes after Mabilog’s wife, Maria Victoria, on Monday admitted that the Iloilo mayor was not returning to the Philippines anytime soon due to “the present threat, veiled or otherwise.”

In an interview with Panay News, Mabilog’s wife said that she was keeping her husband from returning due to security concerns.

“Better be healthy first and safe than sorry,” she said.

Mabilog, his wife, and their two children, left the country on August 31 amid repeated public accusations by Duterte that the local chief executive was a drug protector, an allegation that the mayor has repeatedly denied.

The President ordered a lifestyle check on Mabilog. He also ordered the assignment of controversial police official Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City whose appointment was later cancelled by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Mabilog’s spokesman, lawyer Mark Piad, said the mayor filed a sick leave from September 11 to 30 because he needed to rest and was seeking treatment for Type 2 Diabetes.

Asked about Mabilog’s move to extend his leave, Abella said, “That we need to refer to the Office of the Executive Secretary to find out their opinion regarding the matter.”

On Monday, Piad was quoted as saying that Mabilog filed an extension of his leave on Friday for another 30 days.

He said the mayor’s family has been receiving reports from their friends on possible threats to their lives.

“We have to continuously validate these reports with the police,” Piad said.

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