MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday issued yet another threat to Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog, an official he has linked to the drug trade who has fled the country amid fears for his life.
“The mayor of Iloilo City, I identified him. This was broadcast. I said, ‘You are next. You’re next,’” said Duterte, alluding to Mabilog in a speech in Malacañang.
Duterte, who has tagged Mabilog as a protector of the drug trade, did not clarify what he meant by his statement.
Mabilog has left the country amid fears he might be the next drug-linked politician to die under the Duterte administration.
He has denied the President’s allegations.
Duterte said proof of Mabilog’s links to the drug trade was the latter’s house, which he said was even more grandiose than Malacañang. In defense, the mayor's camp said his house was "just an ordinary house... a normal house."
Under fire from the President and fearing for his safety, Mabilog went abroad in September. His legal counsel and spokesperson, lawyer Mark Piad, had said the mayor went to Japan for official functions and was supposed to proceed to Malaysia.
The mayor’s wife and children have also left the country.
Mabilog’s leave of absence expired on Sept. 30 but he has not reported back to work at the Iloilo City Hall.
Piad said the mayor filed for an additional 30-day sick leave a day before the lapse of his leave of absence, citing security reasons.
Under the Duterte administration, several alleged “narco-politicians” have been killed in supposed legitimate police operations, namely Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.
Espinosa was killed in a predawn raid in his detention cell in November 2016, while Parojinog was among 16 killed in a police operation in August.