Mayor Jed Mabilog on lifestyle check: 'I have nothing to hide'
MANILA, Philippines – Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog welcomed the lifestyle check ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte, saying he had "nothing to hide."
Mabilog issued the statement on Wednesday afternoon, August 30, shortly after Duterte announced the lifestyle check on the mayor whom he had accused of drug links.
"I have nothing to hide," Mabilog said in a statement posted on the Iloilo City Government Facebook page.
Mabilog explained that he and his wife ran "a number of businesses" before he entered politics. (READ: Narcopolitician or 'best mayor'? Who is Iloilo City's Jed Mabilog?)
"I was already living a comfortable life in Manila as an entrepreneur when I came home to run for city councilor. I didn’t become rich because of politics, much unlike many politicians," he said.
"My wife had to make huge sacrifices working in Canada for many years, while at the same time making wise investments that were reported in her income tax returns," Mabilog added.
Dream house turned 'nightmare'
The mayor addressed allegations that he funded the construction of his so-called "palace" – his residential home – from ill-gotten wealth. He said he and his wife worked hard to build their dream home which had turned into a "nightmare" for their family following the allegations.
"I just feel sad that what I had hoped to be a dream home has caused a nightmare experience for me and my family. But I can assure the President not a single centavo of dirty money was spent for this home," he said.
Duterte had described Mabilog's home as a "palace" and quipped that he must be the "child of a rich man" to afford such a house. The mayor downplayed the description.
"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," he said.
Mabilog added that he invited local media to check their home last year.
The mayor also said that when he and his wife built their dream home, they also had their children in mind.
"Everybody dreams of building a beautiful home. Marivic and I built one not only for ourselves but for our children. And I had hoped to plant seeds of inspiration among Ilonggos that through hard work, they, too, like Jed Mabilog, can achieve their dreams," he said.
On August 28, Duterte announced the reassignment of Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to Iloilo. He said Espenido asked for the assignment because Mabilog "has been identified as a protector" of drug lords, then wondered aloud, "Mabuhay kaya siya (Will he live)?"
The President noted then that when Espenido was reassigned to Leyte, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr was killed in a midnight operation inside his jail cell. When the police offier was sent to Ozamiz City, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others were killed in another operation.
Duterte had accused Espinosa and Parojinog of involvement in illegal drugs. – Rappler.com