"I'm not afraid of death, but I resent it. I think it's unfair and irritating. Every time I see something beautiful, I not only want to return to it, but it makes me want to see other beautiful things. I know I'm not going to get to all the places I want to go."
-- Viggo Mortensen
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY -- As an Ilonggo (I was born and raised in Iloilo City in the Philippines), I find it revolting to hear some people compare Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to the slain Ozamis City Mayor Reynaldo “Aldong” Parojinog, Sr.
I find it even more vexing when detractors excitedly parroted that Mabilog would be "the next in line" after Parojinog, who was killed together with his wife, Susan, and 13 others in a dawn raids conducted by the Philippine National Police in the mayor's residence on July 30.
No one can tell exactly why and how Parojinog and his ilk were peppered with bullets except for media reports that they allegedly reacted violently when police raiders tried to issue the search warrants at several of Parojinog's properties in Barangays Baybay San Roque and Baybay Santa Cruz around 2:30 a.m.
Before Parojinog's brutal slaughter, his family was already known nationwide to have been involved allegedly not only in distribution of illegal drugs, but also in other heinous crimes.
Both Mabilog and Parojinog may have been mentioned by President Rodrigo R. Duterte as among the local chief executives in the Philippines to be allegedly involved in narco politics, but they definitely were not in the same class.
In terms of family background, education, intellect, accomplishments in public service, and values, Mabilog and Parojinog may be oceans apart.
The other difference is it has been established that Duterte had wrongly identified Mabilog as "the cousin of (suspected drug lord Melvin "Boyet) Odicta" while Parojinog belonged to a clan that ostensibly had criminal records (they were allegedly the remnants of the notorious "Kuratong Baleleng" that terrorized Metro Manila with kidnapping for ransom activities in the 90s).
Mabilog is the second cousin of opposition Senator Franklin Drilon, not Odicta.
If Duterte's tipsters could not establish this fundamental information, they have no business to tarnish the reputation of any Tom, Dick and Harry.
A failure in intelligence means these bungling field agents could become a liability instead of assets in the president's campaign against illegal drugs.
There are mayors and even governors in the Philippines who are more blatant and with irrefutable criminal involvement and inclinations, but were never placed in the spotlight or threatened with violent death.
Mabilog has been more deeply involved in civic and religious activities, and was never implicated in any crime even before he became a public servant.
Mabilog's enemies used his "friendship" with another suspected drug lord Jingjing Espinosa (who is now in jail for frustrated murder) as the basis to link him in narco-politics.
Mabilog comes from a decent and respected religious family in Molo district. He had or still has a foundation that helps the poor, the youth, and the senior citizens.
To implicate him in illegal drugs is like implicating Desdemona in Lago's plot to kill Emilia in Othello.
Mabilog's aggressive campaign against illegal drugs belies all the innuendos that he is into narco politics. Their lies defy the logic.
The vicious issue or issues being levelled against Mabilog were unheard of when he was first elected as city councilor, vice mayor, and now city mayor on his last term. It was politics or his links with the opposition, especially to Drilon, that gave him the albatross.
After Parojinog's assassination, some of Mabilog's detractors were so excited to push him in line of Duterte's death list.
Do these characters really want Mabilog dead because they are convinced he is evil?
Or they only want to reaffirm and marshal their hatred and bitterness toward the man because of his stunning political success, and use the precarious situation he is in today to satisfy and fulfill their whims and caprices?