By Tara Yap
Iloilo City – Beleaguered Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog may take an official leave of absence amid continuous verbal attacks from President Duterte.
“It (filing for leave of absence) was one of the options being discussed,” said Atty. Mark Piad, Mabilog’s spokesman.
Despite earlier pronouncements that the mayor would “return soon,” Piad told Manila Bulletin Tuesday that Mabilog was still abroad although the spokesman did not specify a particular location.
Mabilog was in Malaysia last week as speaker at the Urban Environment Accords Summit, which Iloilo City hosted two years ago. Mabilog was given a Foreign Travel Authority dated August 17 by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Mabilog was also in Japan as a speaker at a disaster cluster seminar organized by CityNet, an Asia-Pacific association for urban development.
Piad emphasized that both trips were already scheduled prior to the August 28 pronouncement of the President to assign Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City.
Two mayors who were identified as narco-politicians died in police operations, headed by Espenido.
While the Philippine National Police (PNP) cancelled Espenido’s assignment to Iloilo City, the President repeatedly accused Mabilog as a drug protector. The mayor has repeatedly denied the accusation.
Mabilog left Iloilo City for Japan August 30, the day before four agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted an ocular inspection of his house in Iloilo that the President claimed is “more grandiose” than Malacañang Palace.
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