Maasim town mayor yields to Pacquiao
The mayor of Maasim town in Sarangani surrendered on Friday to Senator Manny Pacquiao after narcotics operatives seized around P5 million worth of illegal drugs from his home.
Pacquiao later turned over Mayor Aniceto “Jojo” Lopez, Jr. to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino in General Santos City around noon time.
“When he called up, I advised him to surrender. Dapat niyang harapin ang anumang kasong isasampa laban sa kanya,” Pacquiao said in a statement.
Authorities found one kilogram of “shabu” (crystal meth), a mini shabu laboratory, suspected ecstasy, laboratory equipment, assorted firearms, explosives and ammunition in Lopez’s rest house in Lumasal Village in Sarangani. They also confiscated a green book allegedly containing drug transactions and money trail.
Lopez is allegedly a protector of Ansar Al-Khalifa Philippines (AKP), led by slain terrorist Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias Tokboy, who was responsible for a series of bombings in Mindanao.
The mayor has been a known supporter of the boxer-lawmaker but Pacquiao denied reports that he negotiated for Lopez’s surrender. Lopez only intended to surrender to Pacquiao, who also hails from Sarangani province.
“Hindi totoo yan. Bakit ako magne-negotiate? Nagpadala siya ng feelers na gusto niyang sumuko ng mapayapa. Mas mabuti yon kesa sa may mangyari sa kanyang masama,” Pacquiao said.
“I’m not saying that Lopez is guilty. My point is, he should be given a chance to answer the charges that may be filed against him in court,” he also said. /kga