Mayor linked to drugs extends trip abroad
ILOILO CITY—Iloilo Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, whom President Duterte has linked to the drug trade, is delaying his return to the Philippines.
Mabilog has extended his travel abroad contrary to an earlier statement of his spokesperson that he would return to the country on Thursday after attending an international conference in Japan.
A source, who spoke to the Inquirer on condition of anonymity, earlier said the mayor’s family left the country last week after receiving reports of “tangible” threats against him.
After denying that Mabilog fled to Japan following Mr. Duterte’s repeated tirades, the mayor’s spokesperson, Mark Piad, announced on Wednesday that his boss would proceed to Malaysia from Japan to speak in an international conference.
Piad said the mayor was attending the United Urban Environment Accords (UEA) Summit 2017 from Sept. 7 to 9.
On Tuesday, he told the Inquirer that Mabilog was expected to return to the country on Wednesday or Thursday after attending a conference of CityNet, a regional network of cities and organizations focusing on sustainable urban development, in Yokohama City.
He said the mayor could extend his stay in Japan to meet with prospective investors and Ilonggos there, but he did not mention the summit in Malaysia.
The President earlier claimed that Mabilog had “fled” to Japan where he was living a “luxurious life.”
The President has repeatedly and publicly accused Mabilog of being a drug protector, an allegation that the mayor has repeatedly denied.
Mabilog’s wife, Marivic, has confirmed an Inquirer report that she and her two children left the country due to security concerns.
“Although it pains me to disclose that I brought the children out of the country because it could imperil their security, I am confirming that we are abroad but can’t disclose where,” she said in a statement issued on Thursday through Piad.
Marivic said the safety of her children (a boy and a girl) was paramount. “As a mother, I must instinctively do everything to protect my family, especially the children.”
They “must not be subjected to this pain and agony and I must shield and protect them at all cost,” she said.
Authority to travel
Piad said he learned about the UEA summit in Malaysia only on Wednesday. The UEA is an international organization that focuses on developing the urban environmental evaluation index.
He gave reporters a copy of the authority to travel issued to Mabilog by Local Government Undersecretary Austere Panadero. The authorization order was dated Aug. 17.
The summit will be held at the A’Famosa Resort Hotel, Alor Gajah in Melaka State in Malaysia, according to its website (http://ueamelakasummit2017.mpag.gov.my:8081/uea/index.php)
Mabilog is scheduled to be one of the speakers on “best practices” on Sept. 8. His topic is the Iloilo River, according to the program.