NOTHING TO HIDE: Mabilog welcomes lifestyle check

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THE Mabilog couple claim that while their house cost around P7 million only, the view of the scenic Iloilo River is worth more than the building. Inset photo shows the living room on the second floor of their house. (Ricky D. Alejo)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he ordered a lifestyle check on Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

Mabilog said has no problem with it.

“I have nothing to hide. My house, while often described as a palace, is not quite a palace. It is not as big as pictures would make it appear,” Mabilog said in a statement issued on Aug. 30, 2017.

In a speech during the oath-taking of PNP Star Rank Officers at Malacanang Palace on Wednesday, Duterte once again cited Mabilog and his order to conduct a lifestyle check on him.

“Mabilog sent word that he wants to talk to me. And, I have some lifestyle check on him. His house is like a palace. Anak siguro ito talaga ito ng mayamang mayaman. Ang bahay niya talagang pinasilip ko sa mga NBI pati BIR,” said Duterte.

Mabilog’s house is located at Tap-oc in the historic Molo district, home to Hispanic ancestral houses and the popular Molo Church.

The mayor’s house has a majestic view of the scenic Iloilo River.

Mabilog said his house is not as big as pictures would suggest. His abode has been subjected to scrutiny when President Duterte named him as allegedly “drug protector” together with other local chief executives, judges, police officers in the country.

The mayor said that before he joined politics, he is already living a comfortable life, with a number of businesses, and credited much of his family’s fortune to the lucrative job of his wife, Marivic, who worked in Canada for 21 years.

Marivic rose through the ranks to become vice president for finance and comptroller of Terracom Geotechnique, a geodetic engineering firm based in Calgary, Canada.

“Modesty aside, me and my wife were already running a number of businesses before I joined politics. I was already living a comfortable life in Manila as an entrepreneur when I came home to run for city councilor. I didn’t become rich because of politics, much unlike many politicians,” he said.

“My wife had to make huge sacrifices working in Canada for many years, while at the same time making wise investments that were reported in her income tax returns.”

When his wife left Canada for good and decided to spend her retirement years in the Philippines with the mayor and their two children, they built the controversial house by the river.

To once and for all satisfy the curiosity of his husband’s critics, Marivic opened their house to reporters on Oct. 25, 2016, and stressed the actual value of the property as reflected in the mayor’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

Marivic said the three-storey house that sits on a 200-square-meter lot within the family compound, was constructed over three years and cost P7.9 million.

The first floor is an open hall, the master bedroom, living area and kitchen are on the second floor, and the third floor has two bedrooms with common bathroom for their daughter and son

“We saved for this house and this is among the fruits of our labor,” Marivic said.

In her Facebook post, Marivic said: “Whoever is giving the president the wrong information, he/she or they should take heed. Truth will come out, no matter how you hide it. And once the president discovers that he is being lied to, make yourself scarce. You are embarrassing him. Do him a favor. Our house is open to everyone who wants to drop by. Come and visit. We have the best view of the most beautiful inner city river in the Philippines.”

For the Mabilog couple, the house was built not for them but for their children.

“Everybody dreams of building a beautiful home. Marivic and I built one not only for ourselves but for our children. And I had hoped to plant seeds of inspiration among Ilonggos that through hard work, they, too, like Jed Mabilog, can achieve their dreams,” he said.

“I just feel sad that what I had hoped to be a dream home has caused a nightmare experience for me and my family. But I can assure the President not a single centavo of dirty money was spent for this home.”

The lifestyle check on Mabilog would not be the first.

The Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas conducted a fact-finding investigation on the mayor’s properties following the complaint by former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada sometime in 2014.

Mejorada served as campaign manager and spokesperson of businessman Rommel Ynion whom Mabilog defeated in the 2013 mayoral election.

The Ombudsman noted that the mayor’s net worth as indicated in his SALN increased from P7,379,576,30 in 2004 to P9,711,868.28 in 2005. It then increased to P16,515,195 in 2006 and reached P44,454,432.30 in 2007.

Mabilog served as city councilor from 2004 to 2007 and vice mayor from 2007 to 2010. He was elected mayor in 2010, reelected in 2013, and is serving his third term, which ends in 2019.

The Ombudsman reported that Mayor Mabilog had an annual salary of P281,064 as city councilor, P321,540 as vice mayor and P564,743 as mayor.

Mabilog has said his increasing net worth was a result of business earnings as marketing director of Airtropolis Philippines, a custom brokerage firm, and interests in Pan Pacific Food Services.

The mayor, meanwhile, assured that he will cooperate and submit to any investigation within the bounds of the law.



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