By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY— He may not have returned to the country, but Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog is not keen in seeking political asylum, his spokesman said.
Mark Piad said Mabilog filed for a 20-day sick leave and has not returned after almost two weeks of official trips in Japan and Malaysia.
“The mayor just needs to rest and take a break,” Piad told Manila Bulletin, adding that the mayor was also seeking treatment for diabetes.
Mabilog’s sick leave covers the period from September 11 to September 30.
Speculations on a political asylum surfaced after President Duterte announced late last month the assignment of Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to the Iloilo City police.
The President had wondered aloud if Mabilog would stay alive with Espenido as police chief.
The police official has built a reputation for going after prominent drug personalities.
As chief of police in Albuera, Leyte, he launched a crackdown on the drug operations of the Espinosa group, which authorities said was run by Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa and his son Kevin.
Mayor Espinosa was later killed in what the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) described as a shootout in his cell at a Leyte jail.
Espenido’s reassignment to Iloilo has been put on hold.
Mabilog’s wife, Marivic, left the country with her two children, saying she needed to keep them safe.
Piad said Mabilog’s conscience is clear despite the persistent claim of Duterte that the mayor is a drug protector.
“While the President accused him (Mabilog), no cases have been filed against him,” Piad said.
Mabilog had earlier stressed he would not resign as mayor, saying he has the mandate of the Ilonggos to serve out his term.
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