PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has revived his allegation that Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog is the "number one" coddler of drug syndicates in the country.
During his fifth visit to war-ravaged Marawi City, Duterte took another potshot at Mabilog for going into hiding amid his warning to the local government official to end drug-related activities.
The President criticized Mabilog for ending up "afraid" to be the next target of his bloody crackdown on illegal drugs, even after he allowed Iloilo City to become "most shabulized."
Duterte's drug war has already claimed the lives of thousands of suspects allegedly involved in the narcotics trade, including Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.
"He (Mabilog) was a protector number one [of drug syndicates]. Remember my statement [on] very first early days [as] President? I called the attention of the Iloilo people. Your city or your province is the most shabulized, if there is such a word," Duterte told reporters.
"Now you want me to name them again? It's Mayor Mabilog [who did that] and he is out of the country because he's afraid to suffer the same fate as Parojinog," he added.
Mabilog, along with Espinosa and Parojinog, was tagged by the President as among the government officials included in his narco-list.
On August 28, Duterte appealed to Mabilog to stop his drug connections, warning him that everyone involved in narcotics trade might face death.
In his latest remark, Duterte revealed that he has his own way to "listen" to drug personalities and monitor their activities.
He said people who have supposed links to illegal drugs "are all tapped." The Chief Executive, however, did not further elaborate his statement.
"Don't ask me how -- what kind of listening [do I make]. It was a whisper from God and I was listening to him. So they were all tapped," he said.
In a press conference held Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte's statement still has to be clarified.
Abella nevertheless was confident that the President "was operating within bounds of legality."
The Iloilo City mayor left the country on August 31 since his name has been repeatedly mentioned by Duterte in his impromptu speeches.
But Mabilog's spokesman, lawyer Mark Piad, earlier said the local chief graced a conference in Yokohama City, Japan.
From Japan, Mabilog flew to Malaysia for the United Urban Environment Accord Summit 2017 held from September 7 to 9.
Piad had also confirmed that Mabilog filed a sick leave until the end of September to treat his Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 abroad.
Mabilog's family also went overseas, citing security reasons. (SunStar Philippines)