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Mayor Mabilog mulls filing leave of absence

ILOILO CITY, Philippines  — Embattled Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog is entertaining the idea of filing a leave of absence from work, according to his spokesman, lawyer Mark Piad, amid concerns over the drug problem that beset the city.

Piad however said nothing is final yet, after he and the mayor talked about such possibility, in the wake of Mabilog being called a drug protector and the city being tagged as "most shabulized" and "bedrock of illegal drugs" by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Yesterday, Mabilog again failed to lead the flag raising ceremony at the Iloilo City Hall, and it was Vice Mayor Jose Espinosa III to took his place, but there was no explanation on the mayor's absence.

Piad admitted that Mabilog is affected by the constant allusions made by Duterte on his alleged illegal drug trade involvement.

In his last conversation with the mayor, Mabilog allegedly claimed that he will be back in Iloilo City anytime within this week.

After his official trip in Japan for a disaster management conference, Mabilog flew to Malaysian to attend the two-day Urban Environment Accords Summit, where he presented, as one of the resource speakers, Iloilo City government's best practices on river protection.

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“Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog did not ‘flee.̓ He’s on official travel in the performance of his functions," Piad insisted.

Mabilog went to Japan in the midst of the appointment of Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido as officer-in-charge of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) on August 30. But two days later, Espenido's appointment was cancelled.

The Japan conference on disaster management ran from August 31 to September 4. His Malaysia official trip has an inclusive date of September 7 to 9. (FREEMAN)

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