Maguindanao town mayor ‘surrenders’ to police, denies drug lord tag

PARANG, Maguindanao — A town mayor concerned of his safety and name voluntarily showed up to the police in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to deny reports he was a drug lord in Maguindanao province.

Accompanied by family, siblings and friends, Mayor Rasul Sangki of Ampatuan town presented himself to Chief Supt. Agripino Javier, police director for ARMM on Wednesday afternoon.

The two talked behind closed-doors for about an hour.

“I am not a drug lord,” Rasul told reporters as he emerged from Javier’s office.

“I strongly deny that I am a drug lord,” Sangki said after his name has circulated in social media that he was into illegal drug trade.

“I believed it was politically motivated,” Sangki said without revealing who circulated the information.

Sangki was one of the witnesses to the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

Javier told reporters the town mayor has expressed willingness to personally appear anytime before Philippine National Police Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa “to clear his name.”

The police regional director also said Sangki was not in the PNP-ARMM drug watchlist but added he was not sure whether the mayor was in the list of Dela Rosa.

Meanwhile, Mayor Montasir Sabal of Talitay, Maguindanao, also denied he was a drug lord and maintains a shabu laboratory.

Police authorities in Sultan Kudarat earlier said Sabal was in his house in Barangay Kalawag, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat when the police conducted a raid last Saturday.

The raid led to the arrest of 16 persons and the recovery of PHP1.3 million worth of shabu, parahernalia and a blue book that contains the names and bank information of suspected shabu clients.

Sabal admitted though that most of the arrested suspects were relatives of his wife. “I am not in any way involved in illegal drugs since I became mayor,” Sabal told reporters.

He admitted though that before he became mayor, he was into illegal drugs trade but decided to do away with it years ago. PNA/