Ombudsman dismisses Iloilo Mayor Mabilog over questionable wealth
MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal from service of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog due to questionable wealth.
Mabilog was found guilty of serious dishonesty "relative to his unlawful acquisition of wealth."
The resolution dated August 29 was signed by Rachel Cariaga-Favila, a graft investigation and prosecution officer, and approved by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Manuel Mejorada questioning Mabilog's P8.9-million increase in net worth from 2012 to 2013.
Mejorada said Mabilog's income as a public official and even as a businessman would not be able to justify the increase.
The Iloilo City mayor argued that the increase in his net worth is largely due to his wife's income as a comptroller in Canada and other acquired properties.
But the Office of the Ombudsman pointed out that Mabilog was not able to present evidence of such income and properties.
"Despite opportunities given to respondent to rebut complainant's assertion of unlawful wealth, he still failed to sufficiently explain/answer how he was able to acquire properties, the amounts of which are manifestly out of proportion to his salaries and other lawful income; thus, there is prima facie evidence of unexplained wealth," the ruling reads.
Mabilog's net worth in his 2012 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) was P59.358 million. In 2013, his net worth grew to P68.341 million.
Mejorada had also wanted to charge Mabilog with dishonesty for the disclosure of a bank loan in Canada which he said "defied financial logic," as well as with grave misconduct for financial interests in several Iloilo-based companies. The Ombudsman dismissed both claims for being unsubstantiated.
On Wednesday, October 25, President Rodrigo Duterte addressed Mabilog in a speech and told him, "You're next." Duterte earlier tagged Mabilog as a narcopolitician operating in what he called "the most shabulized" province of Iloilo.
In late August, Duterte initially transferred the notorious Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City, but this reassignment was later canceled. It was under Espenido's watch when two other mayors were killed – Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr and Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr.
The President also ordered a lifestyle check on Mabilog, being carried out by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The Iloilo City mayor has been on leave since early September. (READ: Narcopolitician or 'best' mayor? Who is Iloilo City's Jed Mabilog?)
Mabilog also faces a separate graft case for allegedly putting up a towing company which eventually got a towing contract in Iloilo City. – Rappler.com