ILOILO CITY Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog is on sick leave from Sept. 11 to 30, 2017 to seek diabetes treatment, spend time with his family, and recover from the stress he is suffering in the past weeks, according to his spokesperson, lawyer Mark Piad.
“We know that the mayor is suffering from diabetes mellitus type 2… And because of the stress that the good mayor had gone through he will need additional time for him to avail of (health) tests in other institutions abroad,” Piad announced in a press conference at the City Hall on Sept. 13, 2017.
Piad made the announcement two weeks after the mayor left the city for a disaster forum in Yokohama in Japan on Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, 2017, and an environmental summit in Melaka, Malaysia on Sept. 7 to 9, 2017.
A representative of the mayor filed his sick leave with the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO).
But Piad did not disclose Mabilog’s exact location and belied reports that there are threats to the latter’s life.
“Wala kami idea (nga may credible threat si Mayor); but we have received unsolicited information, we have received tips coming from concerned citizens but nothing is verified so all of it as of now are speculations,” Piad stressed.
He added the mayor has not returned to Iloilo City since he left for the two seminars abroad.
After the Japan seminar, he said Mabilog met with Ilonggo communities and potential investors in Japan before proceeding to Malaysia.
Piad could not confirm if the mayor filed a leave of absence in the past two weeks as his travel orders were specific to the dates of the Japan and Malaysia seminars.
The mayor’s travel abroad, as approved by the Department of the Interior and Local Government as early as Aug. 17, 2017, was questioned as it coincided with the series of events concerning President Duterte and his war on drugs.
Piad said Mabilog’s absence from City Hall is an opportune time for the mayor to heal and rest after all the stress he went through.
“He needs time to heal himself… As a human being, it is but natural that he undergoes stress…he needed time off para makapabulong siya,” he said.
Until the city mayor returns, Vice Mayor Joe Espinosa III is acting mayor while Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon is acting vice mayor.
Piad assured: “Definitely the mayor will return.”
Mabilog was last seen at the City Hall during the Aug. 29, 2017 flag-raising ceremony at Plaza Libertad where he addressed the city government employees as regards the frequent tagging of Iloilo City as “most shabulized” or “bedrock of illegal drugs in the Visayas” by no less than Pres. Duterte himself.
The pressure on the mayor became very apparent when Duterte ordered on national TV last Aug. 28 the reassignment of Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido to Iloilo.
Espenido remains police chief in Ozamiz City where he was tagged in the death of the late mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.
Just like Mabilog, Parojinog is also included in Duterte’s list of alleged narco-politicians.
Meanwhile, Piad said its business as usual at City Hall.
“This should not stop us from continuing to perform our mandated duties, we owe it to the people; that’s one clear mandate ni Mayor – continue to perform our functions the best way we can,” he added.
As to reports of a major organizational shakeup at City Hall, Piad said: “The mayor would be the best person to address that (issue).”
According to the Local Government Code of 1991, leaves of absence of a governor and mayor of highly urbanized city shall be approved by the President or his duly authorized representative.
Sick leaves, on the other hand, are a right provided to an employee, whether in private or public institutions.
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