Malacañang on Tuesday assured Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of his safety amid “present threat” to his security.
In a news conference, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said Mabilog would be properly secured when he returns home from abroad.
“Of course [Mabilog would be safe],” Abella replied 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,” the Malacañang spokesman said.
Abella gave the assurance after Mabilog’s wife, Maria Victoria, on Monday admitted that the Iloilo mayor is not returning to the Philippines anytime soon because of “the present threat, veiled or otherwise.”
In an interview with Panay News, Maria Victoria said she was keeping her husband from returning over security concerns.
“Better be healthy first and safe than sorry,” she added.
Mabilog, his wife, and their two children, left the country on August 31 amid repeated public accusations by President Rodrigo Duterte that Mabilog is 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 but the deployment was later canceled by the Philippine National Police.
Mabilog’s spokesman, lawyer Mark Piad, earlier said the mayor filed a sick leave from September 11 to 30 because he needed rest and is seeking treatment for Type 2 Diabetes.
When 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 on their lives.
“We have to continuously validate these reports with the police,” Piad added.