MANILA - It was a belated act to feign support.
President Rodrigo Duterte had this to say about the Office of the Ombudsman's dismissal of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog, who he has long tagged as a narco-politician.
"Tingnan mo si Mabilog...The Ombudsman, in a very, very late gesture para kunyari sinuportahan nila ko, fired, stripped him of his mayorship," the President said in a speech in Davao City Friday night.
The Ombudsman confirmed earlier Friday that it had ordered Mabilog's dismissal after he was found guilty of serious dishonesty for failing to declare sources of his wealth in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
The anti-graft body, which Duterte has heavily criticized for alleged corruption and selective justice, earned the President's ire after it initiated a probe on his alleged hidden wealth.
The President had previously dared Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to resign with him amid an investigation into his wealth. He also ordered the creation of an anti-corruption commission after vowing to have the anti-graft body investigated for alleged corrupt practices.
Mabilog earlier left the country amid fears he might be the next drug-linked politician to die under the Duterte administration.
The mayor has denied the President's allegations. His wife and children have also left the country.
Two mayors linked to the drug trade were earlier killed in supposed legitimate police operations: Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., who was killed in a predawn raid in his detention cell in November 2016, and Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, who was among 16 slain in a police operation in August.