Maasim mayor Lopez surrenders to Pacquiao
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Hours after a raid on his home yielded illegal drugs and a supposed list of drug personalities, Maasim Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr of Sarangani surrendered to authorities on Friday, October 6.
Lopez surrendered to Senator Manny Pacquiao at the lawmaker's mansion in General Santos City. The senator then turned him over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, PDEA chief Aaron Aquino told Rappler in a phone interview.
The PDEA was already waiting at Pacquiao's home when Lopez surrendered. The turnover was done in a matter of minutes.
Aquino said that the mayor surrendered at around 12:30 pm, and showed "no resistance" in turning himself in. He earlier said the mayor had sent feelers that he would surrender around lunchtime.
The PDEA chief said that Lopez's case will be handled by courts in Sarangani.
At 3:30 am on Friday, a joint team of the PDEA, Philippine National Police Special Action Force, and the Philippine Army, conducted a raid on the Sarangani home of the mayor, but he and his family were not there.
At the mayor's home, authorities reportedly found one kilo of shabu with an estimated value of P5 million, two firearms, explosives, and flasks and vials believed to be used to manufacture drugs.
Operatives also found 100 tablets of suspected Ecstacy and a “green book” which supposedly contained proof that Lopez was a "drug lord."
Pacquiao said he had advised Lopez to turn himself in, after the senator learned about the raid on the mayor's house.
“When he called up, I advised him to surrender. Dapat niyang harapin ang anumang kasong isasampa laban sa kanya (He has to face whatever charges are filed against him),” Pacquiao said.
Lopez is a known supporter of his provincemate, Pacquiao.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Saturday, October 7, that Lopez' surrender "underscores how deeply entrenched narco-politics is in the country." Abella said that the raid just proves the Duterte administration's claim "that illegal drugs and corruption have captured local politics."
"Progress against illegal drugs largely depends on the full support and cooperation of everyone from the citizens to the church and communities," Abella said. – Rappler.com