ILOILO City Mayor Jose Espinosa III said he turned down the request of his niece-in-law, alleged “narco” village chief Keith “Dabing” Espinosa to go indefinite leave from office.
Dabing Espinosa is a punong barangay of Monica-Blumentritt, City Proper district.
Instead, the mayor only approved the barangay captain’s three-month leave extension.
Mayor Espinosa said he sought advice from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and he was told that a government official could only go on leave for a maximum of one year.
“Her original request was an indefinite leave. But I said I cannot grant that because if it exceeded one year, it is automatically considered absent without official leave (AWOL),” Espinosa said.
Dabing Espinosa took a leave of absence beginning July 21 until October 21 because of the three-month extension.
In her letter, Dabing Espinosa cited personal matters for her continued leave from office. She designated her uncle, No. 1 Kagawad (council member) Antonio Espinosa as her temporarily replacement.
In a previous interview, DILG-Iloilo City head Atty. Ferdinand Panes said it is up to the approving authority to grant or deny the request, based on the exigency of service.
The request can be denied if the position is important and the absence of the person in-charge will affect the services of an office.
Under the rules of the Civil Service Commission, government officials and employees can avail of a maximum of one year leave, exclusive of vacation and sick leaves.
Those who exceeded the one year period without a valid reason will be charged for abandonment.
It is believed that Dabing Espinosa’s reason for the prolonged leave of absence is her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
The embattled village chief is the wife of suspected high-value drug personality, Jesus “Jing-Jing” Espinosa Jr., the nephew of Mayor Espinosa.
Jing-Jing Espinosa is incarcerated at the Iloilo District Jail in Pototan town.
On July 12, 2018, Dabing Espinosa sought an audience with Chief Supt. John Bulalaco, Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 regional director, claiming that she feared for her family’s safety after she was tagged in the illegal drugs trade. But she failed to meet the police director.
Her fears deepened after the arrest of former barangay captain Noemi Jablo of Desamparados, Jaro, Iloilo City and the killing of Brgy. Captain Remia Prevendido Gregori of Bakhaw, Mandurriao, Iloilo City.