While allies of Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog in the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) have chosen to remain tight-lipped, a staunch critic has spoken against alleged threats on the life of the city’s chief executive.
Councilor Plaridel Nava said he supports the national government’s campaign against illegal drugs “but it does not follow that we also support the intention to have the mayor killed or threatened to be killed.”
As of this writing, Mabilog has yet to return to Iloilo City from Japan and Malaysia where he attended two successive international conferences on disaster management and sustainable urban development. President Rodrigo Duterte has accused him of being a drug protector.
Mabilog’s wife Maria Victoria, a Canadian citizen, and their two children already left the country.
According to Nava, in 2015 when he accused Mabilog of having links to drug personalities in the city, he simply wanted to “awaken the mayor to perform his job and do more in the fight against illegal drugs.”
It was not his intention to expose the mayor to threats or to the possibility of being killed, he stressed.
Nava spoke against Mabilog during a December 2015 hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs then chaired by Sen. Grace Poe.
He also submitted documents on suspected drug personalities operating in the city and the police officers and public officials who may have links with them.
Yesterday, Nava claimed “70 percent” of the locals linked by President Duterte to illegal drugs came from the documents he submitted not only to the Senate committee but also to at least five government agencies, including the Dangerous Drugs Board.
Nava also defended Mabilog in a Facebook post last month while on an extended vacation in Canada.
“I don’t think Jed deserves to be killed in such a brutal manner. It cannot be justified,” Nava posted.
Mabilog was not a drug lord and to say that he would be the next “target” following the fatal raid on Ozamiz City’s Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. was speculative and even baseless, according to Nava.
Parojinog, his wife and 12 others were riddled with bullets. Policemen claimed the mayor put up a fight.
“The way I understand it, only drug lords occupying elective offices are the main targets for assassination. And Jed is not a drug lord, we all know that,” stressed Nava.
Like Mabilog, Parojinog was also tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as a drug protector like slain Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa.
Espinosa was shot dead by policemen who raided his detention cell in Baybay City, Leyte in November 2016.
“I must say, in the name of truth and fairness, that never a time did Mayor Mabilog sell, trade or dispense illegal drugs to anyone. I made this clear during my testimony in the Senate inquiry (on illegal drugs in Iloilo City last December 2015). I testified then and I will say it again: Jed is not a drug lord, neither a drug pusher that would place him in equal footing with the likes of mayors Espinosa and Parojinog,” stressed Nava.
Mabilog’s liability, according to Nava, was the mayor’s “failure to address the drug menace as early as 2010, his inaction in the fight against illegal drugs and his friendship with known drug personalities in the city of Iloilo, which is tantamount to ‘drug protection.’”
Mabilog vehemently denied being involved in illegal drugs either as protector, user or pusher.
He also insisted that there had been no letup in the city government’s campaign against illegal drugs.