Matrix shows web of drug operations in Lanao Sur

By Lilian Mellejor

September 23, 2017, 8:41 pm

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday night released the matrix of hard drugs operations in Lanao del Sur and the entire Mindanao showing direct connection and interconnection of former and current local leaders in the illegal trade.

The matrix showed the web of operation of Marawi’s former mayor Fahad “Pre” Salic to 10 suspected druglords and links to officials protecting the illegal industry, including an interconnection of the Parojinog drug trade in Ozamis City.

Salic had long been arrested in Barangay San Martin, Villanueva, Misamis Oriental in the early days of the government’s campaign in Marawi City. He was arrested for rebellion charges and violation of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2000.

Salic was tagged as the country's No. 11th most wanted person for his involvement in illegal drugs and one of the country's narco-politicians behind the Maute Terrorist Group in Lanao del Sur. He is related to the Mautes by marriage because his wife, Rasmia Salic, is the niece of Farhana Romato Maute, the mother of Abdullah and Omarkhayyam Maute. The Maute brothers led the Marawi siege in May.

The President said the information on the drug operation between Salic and his links was a work of the intelligence for the last two or three months when security forces were able to penetrate the entrails of Marawi City.

This was also in these times when government discovered that the Maute was preparing for a long haul.

“Until now, they never ran out of ordnance, explosives, ammunition, and all. I really do not know the extent now of the contamination,” Duterte told reporters during the Davao Media Night Friday at the Matina Enclaves.

The President said he decided to release the information despite some missing links somewhere.

“Kaya sabi ko bitawan na natin (So I said we can release it), it's no use keeping it a secret, for what?” he said, pointing out that it could explain the killings.

“And it's always a question of thought. It has crept, it’s creeping and at the time when Albuera Mayor (Alberto Jr) Espinosa, then the Odicta (Melvin and Meriam) spouses were killed, I don't know how it was done,” he added.

Espinosa was arrested but he was killed inside his jail cell while Melvin and Meriam Odicta were shot dead by unidentified gunman while disembarking from a Roro vessel at Caticlan Jetty Port in Caticlan, Aklan in August last year.

Duterte said the connections also show the fight for supremacy of the supply.

“Kasi alam mo 'yung illegal (Because you know in illegal) whether or not you want to believe it, always the driving force is greed and power, money.

The President, however, said he has yet to find the extent of how the hard drugs trade is being used to build up the terrorist activity.

“But to what extent was this drug used to build up the terrorist activity is something which we have really to find. Until now, hindi pa (not yet). It's not…blurred. It remains to be something like they are just there fighting,” he said.

Duterte is optimistic the Marawi operation is winding up, saying, there are the remaining enemies holding out somewhere in a certain place. He said the enemies are slowly being constricted to a very, very narrow path.

“We will… We're winding up,” he said. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)