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Maasim mayor linked to drugs surrenders

By: Joseph Jubelag

SARANGANI – Maasim, Sarangani Mayor Aniceto “Jojo” Lopez Jr. has surrendered to authorities upon the request of Senator Manny Pacquiao, a few hours after a surprise raid on his home in Barangay Lumasal, Sarangani, yielded almost P5 million worth of illegal drugs, several firearms and explosives.

“I asked the mayor to surrender to shed light on his alleged involvement in illegal drugs,” Pacquiao said. PDEA chief Aaron Aquino, who personally supervised the raid, said they found a so-called bluebook in the mayor’s house, which contained names of several drug lords presently detained at the Bureau of Corrections.

He went on to describe Lopez as a key leader of El Patron, a big time illegal drug syndicate operating in the region.

Aquino said Lopez has also been identified as the protector of the Ansar Al-Khalifa Philippines (AKP) Group headed by the deceased terrorist Mohammad Jaafar Maguid alias Tokboy Maguid.

The PDEA chief believes Lopez’s house was being used to manufacture illegal drugs based on materials they recovered therein, including several test tubes, a hydro incinerator and various chemicals.

Aside from manufacturing and selling illegal drugs, the PDEA chief said the mayor has been confirmed to be using illegal drugs.

“The mayor has a lot of explaining to do with regards to the contraband and other illegal items seized from his house,” Aquino said.

The raid on Lopez’ house led to the arrest of several people, including village councilman Jonathan Diamalon, who surrendered two .45 caliber pistols.