PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has his “own source of information” when he alleged that Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog had left the country to go into hiding, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
“We do know that the President has his own source of information and he has his own understanding of the situation,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters in Malacañang.
Abella’s statement came after Duterte claimed on Saturday that Mabilog fled to Japan and was “living luxuriously,” amid his repeated remarks that the Iloilo City mayor is included in the list of narco-politicians.
Duterte also accused Mabilog of owning a "Palace-like" home because of his earnings from his illegal drugs transactions.
During the 41st birthday celebration of Davao City First District Representative Karlo Alexei Nograles on Sunday, the President mentioned Mabilog anew as he defended the war he waged against illegal drugs.
“Mayor’s Mabilog house is more grandiose [than] a palace. It was because of drugs. Where else would he get the money from? His business?" the President said in Bisaya.
"They’ll say, ‘Those are only the poor.’ But the poor are the ones who will distribute it’s not the drug lords who will do that because they’re already very rich, just like Mabilog who has escaped to Japan and living luxuriously there," he added.
Lawyer Mark Piad, the spokesperson of Mabilog, dispelled speculations that the local executive would no longer return to the country, explaining that he was merely attending a conference on disaster management organized by Citynet Yokohama Project Office.
Piad also assured that Mabilog would come back to the country.
Duterte called out Mabilog on August 28 to end his connections with drug syndicates, warning him that any individuals linked to narcotics may face death.
Following his pronouncement, Mabilog was prompted to seek dialogue with the President in order for him to present his track record.
Duterte, instead of heeding to Mabilog's request, revealed that he ordered a conduct of lifestyle check on the local chief and learned that he owns a house similar to a palace.
Asked if Duterte has expressed willingness to talk to Mabilog, Abella said the President seemed to be not inclined to meet the Iloilo mayor.
“The last time I checked, he (Duterte) was not open to conversation with Mabilog,” Abella said. (SunStar Philippines)