Lifestyle check? NBI personnel ‘inspect’ Mayor Mabilog’s house

Jennifer P. Rendon (The Freeman) - August 31, 2017 - 4:00pm

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — A day after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a lifestyle check on Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) went to the local executive’s house.

Around 3 p.m. yesterday, four agents of NBI-Region 6 made a “visit” citing orders from their direct superior. They coordinated and were accompanied by Ariel Castañeda, Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) head of the Iloilo City government.

In the absence of any search warrant and Mabilog’s legal counsel, they were not allowed to enter the house, which is located at Barangay Tap-oc in Molo district, this city. But they were ushered inside the compound and the receiving area of Mabilog’s house.

The NBI agents did not insist. They just took pictures of the area where they were allowed to and some cars parked inside the compound. They saw six cars, but Mabilog’s brother JV, who later arrived, claimed that only three belonged to the mayor and his wife.

The agents stayed for about 15 to 20 minutes and made their exit, but before they left, JV arrived. They politely told JV that they are leaving and that they would just be back on some other time. When members of the media asked for their names, the agents declined.

Later on, JV granted a brief interview and then toured the reporters inside the house. He also admitted that the family fear for their safety. “We don’t want to experience what happened to the other family,” he said apparently referring to the Parojinogs in Ozamiz City.

“For us here, we’re a simple family who serve the public and the people of Iloilo City. We are inexperienced when it comes to this and, of course, we are saddened that despite what we do, there’s something like that’s happening,” JV said.

When asked if the mayor already knew of the NBI visit, JV said he was yet to inform the mayor, who was at the time on an official trip abroad.

JV said the family is already expecting that more government agencies might be making their trips to check on Mabilog’s reported mansion. “We’re expecting everything, especially after his pronouncement. It seems everybody in the city is involved. Mayor Mabilog, as the head of the city, we expect the worst-case scenario that’s why we are asking for prayers,” he said.

He added that the family is worried, especially of possible “sudden early morning raids. A team might enter and they’ll possibly do something as part of their operation,” he said. There are volunteer groups however who already informed the Mabilogs that they would do prayer rallies and vigil, which the family welcomes, he added.

As JV toured the house, he showed that it was far from being called a mansion. While the facade might be imposing from a distance, he said that the house is not that big, adding that the Iloilo River just gave it a glamorous look.

Meanwhile, JV reiterated that they would be willing to work with Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, who might be coming in as officer-in-charge of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO).

The mayor earlier said: “I have nothing to hide. My house, while often described as a palace, is not quite a palace. The land or compound on which our circa 1800s ancestral home stands was inherited and the house was built on a more or less 200-square meter portion. It is not as big as pictures would make it appear. Last year, I opened our doors to the local media for them to see the inside.”

Mabilog said he and his wife Marivic had a number of businesses before he joined politics. “But I can assure the president not a single centavo of dirty money was spent for this home,” he added. (FREEMAN)

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