HOUSE FIT FOR KINGS, QUEENS? | Watch: Duterte orders check on Iloilo Mayor Mabilog’s lifestyle

August 30, 2017 - 7:25 PM
File photo of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and a silhouette of his residence near the Iloilo River

MANILA, Philippines – Saying the Iloilo City mayor’s residence was like the house of kings and queens, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday announced that he had ordered a check on the lifestyle of Jed Patrick Escalante Mabilog.

The chief executive also said that Mabilog had requested to meet with him days after Duterte announced that he would have Jovie Espenido transferred to Iloilo and asked the Ozamiz police chief inspector if Mabilog would still survive if he would work in the city, which the President tagged last year as the “most shabulized” area in the country.

“Mabilog said he wants to talk to me. His house is like a palace. Anak siguro ito ng mayamang mayaman. Bahay niya pinasilip ko sa NBI at BIR kaya it is for this reason that I look for PNP for leadership,” said Duterte.

[Maybe he is the son of very rich parents. I had his house inspected by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, that’s why it is for this reason that I look for PNP for leadership.]

Mabilog, a second cousin of Sen. Franklin Drilon, is among the eight incumbent mayors in the Visayas who remain in the President’s list of personalities allegedly involved in narcotics trade.

Unexplained wealth case

In November 2011, former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada filed criminal and administrative complaints against Mabilog before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the President.

Mejorada, a longtime critic of Mabilog, alleged that the mayor had unexplained wealth that included a three-story structure in Barangay Tap-oc in Iloilo’s Molo District also called the “White House,” which sits on a 200-square-meter lot within the family compound.

The mayor’s critics estimate that his residence by the Iloilo River is worth about P50 million.

But according to Mabilog’s wife, Victoria “Marivic” Griengo-Mabilog, the house, which took three years to build and was declared by the mayor in his 2015 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), only costs P7.9 million.

In March 2016, the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas approved the filing of criminal charges against Mabilog, after a lifestyle check indicated his possible violation of Republic Act No. 1379 or the Unexplained Wealth Act.

Spike in net worth

According to the ombudsman, Mabilog’s net worth based on his declarations in his SALNs increased from P7.37 million in 2004 to P9.711 million in 2005. In 2006, his net worth rose to P16.51 million and to P44.45 million in 2007.

In his 2014, Mabilog declared in his SALN a total net worth of P62.15 million that increased to P64.67 million in 2015.

Mabilog’s camp attributed the big increase in the mayor’s 2007 net worth to Marivic’s purchase of a house and lot in Canada.

The mayor’s wife said she had worked for many years at Terracom Geotechnique, a geodetic engineering firm based in Calgary, Canada, and retired in December 2014 as the company’s vice president for finance and comptroller.

Mayor Mabilog also attributed the increase in his net worth to his income as marketing director of Airtropolis Philippines, a custom brokerage company, and as chair of Pan Pacific Food Services.

Mabilog, whose families include the Escalantes and the Locsins, served as Iloilo City councilor from 2004 to 2007. He then served as vice mayor from 2007 to 2010 and won as mayor in the 2010, 2013, and 2016 elections.

Mabilog had an annual salary of P281,064 as city councilor, P321,540 as vice mayor and P564,743 as mayor, according to the ombudsman.