ILOILO CITY - Mayor Jed Mabilog is abroad and has filed for sick leave for the rest of September to get treatment for diabetes, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Mabilog, who denied President Rodrigo Duterte's allegation that he was the protector of the drug trade in the city, reportedly traveled to Japan and Malaysia for official functions but failed to return to his office on Monday.
The city executive is out of the country with his family and will need the treatment after experiencing "stress," said Atty. Mark Piad, Mabilog's spokesperson.
Piad said he does not know the family's whereabouts, but he assured supporters that there was nothing to be afraid of regarding the mayor's health.
"He is abroad. He will undergo treatment, as human being he underwent stress and he has diabetes. Most probably it was triggered by stress. He needs time for treatment," he said.
Noting that the mayor's birthday is fast approaching, Piad said it was the perfect time to allow Mabilog some time for himself and his family.
Piad said Mabilog has no reason to seek political asylum abroad, and that the lifestyle check on the mayor will not be affected by his temporary absence in the city because Mabilog has expressed willingness to cooperate in any probe.
"Last year, Task Force Agila was tasked to investigate. At that time, he cooperated. His departure will not affect the investigation," he said.
Mabilog's camp believes the city will be able to stand after its tourism sector was affected by security issues.
Duterte had described Iloilo as the "most shabulized" city in the country and said he is sending C/Insp. Jovie Espenido to the chartered city.
Espenido was the chief of police in Albuera and Ozamiz towns when its respective mayors, Rolando Espinosa Sr. and Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., were killed in separate police operations.
Although Mabilog said sending Espenido to his city was "a welcome development," Espenido's assignment eventually fell through and the controversial cop had to stay in Ozamiz City.