MANILA -- The surrender of a mayor in Sarangani Province underscores how deeply entrenched narco-politics is in the Philippines.

“The raid by PDEA operatives of the rest house of the Maasim Mayor proves the administration’s claim that illegal drugs and corruption have captured local politics,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier bared the link between illegal drugs and terrorism, showing reporters a matrix of alleged drug lords, dealers, and narco-politicians who provided support to the Maute Group which had taken hold of Marawi City.

Members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) raided the rest house of Maasim, Sarangani Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. on October 6, 2017 and found PHP5 million worth of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (locally known as shabu) and a mini-shabu laboratory.

Lopez was not in his rest house during the raid but he surrendered hours later to Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, who then turned him over to PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino in General Santos City.

As this developed, Abella called on the public to continue supporting the government’s campaign to eliminate illegal drugs.

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