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South Cotabato mayor held in town’s police jail

A mayor in South Cotabato arrested for alleged possession of bullets and rifle grenade during an anti-drug raid in his home is now detained in his own town’s police jail while awaiting resolution of his petition for bail.

Mayor Albert Palencia of Banga, South Cotabato was brought to his town’s police detention facility from General Santos City, where he was initially taken for processing by agents of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

The Region 12 police anti-illegal drug special operations task force raided Palencia’s home on Thursday armed with 18 court-issued search warrants.

Although they did not find any drugs, the raiders said they seized four caliber .380 bullets from Palencia’s house and a rifle grenade from a piggery he owns in Baranagt Punong Grande.

The mayor denied owning the ammunition but said he would abide by the police’s process, including being locked up in the town police’s cell.

The mayor was included in a list of so-called “narco-politicians” earlier bared by President Duterte.

“I have never been involved in illegal drugs, our town employees for the past four years know that pretty well… I am supportive of the anti-drug campaign of the government,” Palencia said.

“The raid also clears my name,” he told dxOM-AM Radyo Bida. “The police found no drugs in my house and that erases intelligence information that I am a drug lord and that I maintain a drug laboratory.”

Nevertheless, he said, “I understand the police in carrying out their jobs … its better they have proven that I was not into drug because they got nothing … (from) my house.”

Palencia acknowledged that the raid, which was covered by the local media, was in order and his rights were not violated, although the glass door of his home and a closed circuit television camera were broken.

“I assured the police that I will not run away. I did not hide or evade arrest because I know I am not a drug lord or a gambling lord,” Palencia said. (PNA)