MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte slammed the United States (US) Embassy in the Philippines for supposedly allowing dismissed Iloilo City mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to fled to US in 2017, about a year after the latter was first included in the “narco-list.”
“I’d like to inform the US Embassy, I thought I gave you a list noon. Kung nakalusot itong mayor na ito, I’d like to ask the embassy bakit ninyo nabigyan ng [visa]?” Duterte said in his speech during the National Peace and Order Council meeting in Davao City on Thursday evening.
In the same speech, Duterte released the names of 46 politicians allegedly involved in illegal drug operations in the country – five of them are from Western Visayas, including Mabilog.
The four others were Maasin, Iloilo mayor Mariano Malones; Carles, Iloilo mayor Siegfredo Betita; Hamtic, Antique mayor Julius Ronald Pacificador, and Culasi, Antique vice mayor Ariel Alagos Jr.
The President said he was baffled that Mabilog was able to travel to US even if he already provided US Embassy a copy of the “narco-list” way back in 2016.
“Naghingi kayo ng listahan, binigay ko sa ambassador niyo so that the Filipino addicts who would go there only to destroy your country will be denied visas,” he added.
The President further said: “I think I remember I gave you a copy and the name of this mayor – because he’s a fame whore – was there definitely. Now I’m asking bakit nandyan sa Amerika if indeed he is in Amerika?”
Later in his speech, Duterte also said Mabilog is in Canada.
Mabilog was repeatedly linked by President Duterte to the drug trade. Mabilog, for his part, has repeatedly denied these allegations and asked for a speedy investigation.
In 2017, he took a leave of absence as Iloilo City mayor and flew out of the country with his family to seek treatment for his diabetes abroad.
In that same year, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered his dismissal and perpetual disqualification from holding public office for plunder, dishonesty, grave misconduct, and perjury charges./PN