Mabilog dismissal: TRO will be his last hope
ILOILO CITY — Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog is exerting a last-ditch effort to stop the enforcement of an Ombudsman order to dismiss him for unexplained wealth.
The Ombudsman’s dismissal order was expected to be implemented by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday or in the next few days.
Lawyer Joenar Pueblo, Mabilog’s legal counsel, said he would file a petition for certiorari at the Court of Appeals on Monday to stop the enforcement of the order dismissing Mabilog as this city’s mayor for failing to explain a P9-million increase in his wealth in just a year.
Pueblo, who received a copy of the Ombudsman order only on Friday, said he would also seek a temporary restraining order (TRO) and writ of preliminary injunction.
He said the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion in finding Mabilog guilty of serious dishonesty in relation to his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) declaration.
“The penalty was too harsh,” Pueblo said.
“The mayor did not hide anything,” the lawyer said.
No TRO, no resistance
Pueblo said Mabilog would, however, heed the order and not resist its enforcement if no TRO was issued by a higher court.
In its decision, the Ombudsman cited a nearly P9-million increase in Mabilog’s net worth as reflected in his 2012 and 2013 SALNs.
It said that though Mabilog submitted proof on the “lawful source” of his wife’s income in Canada from 2007 to 2009 and from 2010 to 2012, he failed to submit proof of her income from her salary in Canada for 2013.
He also failed to submit proof of income from business interests he declared in his SALN.
The Ombudsman said there was “malicious intent to conceal the truth” on the part of Mabilog.
The Ombudsman also ordered the filing of a petition to forfeit Mabilog’s assets representing his unexplained wealth.
Anthony Nuyda, DILG Western Visayas director, said his office received an order to enforce the Ombudsman’s decision.
“Hopefully we can implement it by Monday,” Nuyda said.
“It will be implemented whether he is in the office or not. We have options to serve it in his office, residence or through his lawyer or counsel of record,” Nuyda said in a text message.
He said only a TRO could stop the implementation of the order.
Mabilog is on extended sick leave after he left the country on Aug. 30 to attend separate conferences in Japan and Malaysia.
His wife, Marivic, and their two children were believed to be with him in an undisclosed location abroad due to security concerns.
Vice Mayor Jose “Joe” Espinosa III had been serving as acting mayor. Mabilog is on his third and last term, which would expire in 2019.
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