Press Release
October 6, 2017


MAKATI - Senator Manny Pacquiao turned over mayor Anecito "Jojo" Lopez, Jr. of Maasim town, Sarangani, to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino on Friday noon in General Santos City.

Operatives of PDEA raided the seaside rest house of Lopez in Lumasal village, Maasim, early Friday morning and allegedly seized some P5 million worth of suspected shabu, a mini-shabu laboratory, green book containing drug transactions and money trail.

Lopez, however, managed to sneak out and went on hiding.

Upon learning of the incident, Pacquiao advised Lopez to surrender to the law enforcers so as not to aggravate his case.

Before lunch time, Lopez sent feelers he wanted to surrender but only to Senator Pacquiao.

"When he called up, I advised him to surrender. Dapat niyang harapin ang anumang kasong isasampa laban sa kanya," Sen. Pacquiao said.

Maasim is one of the seven towns of Sarangani, the home province of Sen. Pacquiao.

Lopez, albeit not a party mate of Sen. Pacquiao, has been a known supporter of the boxer-lawmaker.

Sen. Pacquiao has been reminding all Sarangani officials to stay away from corruption or any illegal activities.

"All the local officials in my home province knew my stand when it comes to illegal drugs trade and corruption. Once they got embroiled in any illegal activities, they cannot expect help from me. I made it clear from the very start," Sen. Pacquiao stressed.

The senator from Mindanao said leaders should serve as role models for the people.

"How can we expect the people to follow or respect the rule of law when the leaders, themselves, are law breakers?" he said.

He added he doesn't want to prejudge Lopez's case.

"I'm not saying that Lopez is guilty. My point is, he should be given a chance to answer the charges that may be filed against him in court," he said.

He debunked reports that he negotiated for the surrender of Lopez.

"Hindi totoo yan. Bakit ako magne-negotiate? Nagpadala siya ng feeler na gusto niyang sumuko ng mapayapa. Mas mabuti yon kesa sa may mangyari sa kanyang masama," he said.

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