ILOILO City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog respects the decision of President Duterte to assign Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido in Iloilo but insisted on his innocence amid repeated allegations from the President himself that he is a drug protector.
In his message to City Hall employees at the flag-raising ceremony, Aug. 29, 2017, Mabilog said that while resigning from his post is the easy way out of the latest challenge to his life and to the city of Iloilo, it is not an option.
“I will stay because first and foremost, I have never protected anyone against illegal drugs, even any form of criminality. Wala gid. Wala ko may natawgan nga maski sin-o para indi siya pagtandugon o indi siya pagdakpon, o kun nadakpan siya, indi siya pagwaon, waay gid. Never!”
Mabilog said that since he assumed office in 2010, he had been doing his best to usher in developments to the city of Iloilo, while at the same time, entrusted the peace and order issues to the hands of the experts – the law enforcement agencies such as Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and PNP.
Mabilog described Duterte’s picking on Iloilo as a big challenge to the Ilonggo community, as the situation is no longer just about him but of Iloilo as a whole.
“This is not about me as mayors come and go. We have to support and cooperate. We have to be alert. And we have to show that our city is not like what it is being perceived to be. We, Ilonggos could erase this stain.”
“And of course, to Chief Inspector (Jovie) Espenido, let us show to him and let us show to the President that here, illegal drugs has no place on Iloilo City,” he added.
The mayor said it could have been easier for him to just resign for the peace and quiet of city but he wants to finish his mandate as mayor until 2019.
“I have never protected any personalities involved in illegal drugs, even any form of criminality,” he insisted.
Mabilog also stressed that he has never call anyone to make someone untouchable or release any arrested person.
In a separate interview, Mabilog said data and records would show that he has never protected nor tolerated anyone in the illegal drug trade.
Mabilog again hogged the limelight after Duterte announced that Espenido would be assigned in Iloilo.
On the occasion of the National Heroes’ Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Aug. 28, 2017 Duerte told Espenido, “You asked for assignment sa Ozamiz, namatay ang mayor doon. Ngayon gusto mo sa Iloilo, kasi si Mabilog.”
Immediately following Duterte’s pronouncement, Mabilog issued a statement welcoming Duterte’s decision.
“I look forward to working side by side with Chief Inspector Espenido as the President’s point man in the battle against illegal drugs in Iloilo, both city and province,” Mabilog added.
But this did not sit well on Duterte who asserted that Mabilog is in the updated list of alleged narco-politicians.
The President also accused the mayor of giving protection and calling the police to protect drug lords.
In response, Mabilog said he respects the words of the President, claiming “there are some information that had been given to him.”
The mayor assumed that it could have been made an issue and was carried over until it reached the President’s attention.
“Much more, I have never used maski isa, maski elementary, high school, college, bisan professional na ko, wala gid ko katilaw sang illegal nga droga. Wala gani ko kakilala kun ano na itsura niya na. (I have never illegal drugs, even in my elementary days, high school, college or even when I’m already professional. In fact, I don’t even know what it looks like),” he said yesterday.
As far as the campaign on illegal drugs is concerns, Mabilog said that he did not remiss according to his ability and knowledge.
“If it is not enough, I publicly say I’m sorry. I apologize to the media, to the people of Iloilo City if it’s is not enough. But again, I did exert everything. But one thing I’m quite sure of, with God as my witness, that I have never protected anybody especially in illegal drugs. I will never do that,” he said.
Further, “Probably, this challenge is a mission of our Lord. He has planned everything for us,” he added.
Mabilog said that if “God wanted something to happen according to His plan, it will happen.”
“Even if I’m just staving and the Lord wanted me to die, I’ll just fall and die because that is His plan. All we have to do is submit to Him. Have faith. Submit. And call on His name,” he said.
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