Sarangani mayor surrenders to Pacquiao after raid yields P5-M shabu

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 6) — A Sarangani town mayor surrendered to Senator Manny Pacquiao on Friday, hours after authorities raided his home and seized P5 million worth of shabu.

Aside from drugs, various drug paraphernalia, high-powered firearms, explosives, and a “green book” containing supposed drug transactions were recovered from the rest house of Maasim Mayor Anecito “Jojo” Lopez, Jr in Lumasal village, Maasim at dawn on Friday.

Lopez managed to evade authorities.

Pacquaio, a former congressman from Sarangani, said Lopez “sent feelers” at around noon saying he wanted to surrender to Paqcuiao.

“When he called up, I advised him to surrender. Dapat niyang harapin ang anumang kasong isasampa laban sa kanya (He should face whatever charges will be filed against him),” Pacquiao said in a press release.

He clarified he’s not saying Lopez was guilty, but surrendering was the best thing for him to do.

“Mas mabuti yon kesa sa may mangyari sa kanyang masama (It’s better to surrender than to face danger),” Pacquiao said.

Lopez has since been turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said Lopez leads the El Patron Drug Group, a syndicate that bought drugs from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

Aquino said the Parajinogs were listed in Lopez’s green book.

Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. along with 15 other people, were killed when police served search warrants at several Parojinog properties in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental on July 30. The raid yielded shabu and firearms. Parojinog’s children, Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog and Reynaldo Jr. are detained in Camp Crame over charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and illegal possession of dangerous drugs.

Two other mayors were killed in the government’s anti-drug campaign: Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa who was killed in a drug raid inside his detention cell on November 2016, and Datu Saudi Ampatuan Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom who died in anti-drug operations in October 2016.

They were both in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of “narco-politicians” or local officials allegedly linked to illegal drugs. Lopez is not on the list Duterte has made public.