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Gov’t: PH drug problem deeply rooted

By: Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Malacañang said the surrender of Maasim, Sarangani Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. shows how deeply rooted the drug problem in the country is.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency raided Lopez’s rest house and seized P5 million worth of illegal drugs, several firearms, explosives, and a list of drug personalities that included local officials.

Lopez surrendered to Sen. Manny Pacquiao several hours after the raid.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the yield from the raid proves how drugs have entered local politics.

“The surrender of Maasim, Sarangani Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. underscores how deeply entrenched narco-politics is in the country,” Abella said.

“The raid by PDEA operatives of the rest house of the Maasim mayor, where P5 million worth of suspected shabu and a mini-shabu laboratory were seized, proves the administration’s claim that illegal drugs and corruption have captured local politics,” he added.

The Palace official renewed its call for support in President Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“Progress against illegal drugs largely depends on the full support and cooperation of everyone, from the citizens to the church and communities,” Abella said.

PDEA chief Director General Aaron Aquino said that Lopez is a key leader of the El Patron drug group, a big time drug syndicate operating in South Cotabato, Sarangani, and General Santos City.