MALACAÑANG on Tuesday assured Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of his safety upon his return to the country from his lengthy stay abroad.
Speaking to Palace reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella allayed Mabilog's fears that he might be the next target of the government after he had been earlier tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as among the public officials involved in illegal drugs.
"This is a pretty democratic country. As far as the evidence shows, rule of law prevails," Abella said.
Mabilog has left the country on August 31 after Duterte reiterated his warning to the town mayor to stop his drug-related activities as those who continue to be participating in drug proliferation would face death under his watch.
His wife and children also left the country because of security concerns.
The Iloilo mayor attended separate conferences in Japan and Malaysia before going on a sick leave until September 30 to treat his Type 2 Diabetes in a foreign country. He, however, did not report for work after his sick leave expired.
Mabilog's legal counsel and spokesperson Mark Piad said the local chief filed for an additional one-month sick leave on September 29 due to complications brought by diabetes.
On September 22, the President said Mabilog merely went into hiding because he feared that he might "suffer the same fate" as slain Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, who was killed in a drug raid after being named as alleged narco-politician.
"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 said.
"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 with Parojinog," he added. (SunStar Philippines)