A MAYOR in Mindanao was arrested during an anti-illegal drugs operation in South Cotabato early Thursday.
Supt. Romeo Galgo, public information officer for Region 12, identified the local official as Albert Palencia, municipal mayor of Banga, South Cotabato.
Pelencia is the third mayor to be arrested two months after President Rodrigo Duterte revealed a list of 150 local officials who were allegedy involved in the illegal drug trade.
Palencia was not on that list, however.
Last week, Mayor Christopher Cuan of Libungan town in North Cotabato was arrested for illegal possession of several rounds of ammunition.
Police found no evidence of illegal drugs when they searched Palencia’s house, but found a rifle grenade and four rounds of caliber 380 mm bullets.
The death toll in the government’s war on illegal drugs rose again as three drug suspects were killed while another was arrested in two separate police operations in Cavite and Laguna.
The dead suspects were identified as Kenneth Green, 34, tricycle driver and Alvin Buendia, 24, both residents of Barangay Wawa 1, Rosario, Cavite. The two were killed in a shootout with lawmen.
In Laguna, policemen killed Alano dela Pena. Albert Pugado, 29 was nabbed in a drug bust at Sto. Domingo Street in Barangay Mayapa, Calamba City.
So far, 1,790 drug suspects have been killed in police operations since President Duterte came to office.
At least 33,105 have been arrested while 758,377 (55,014 pushers and 703,363 users) surrendered to the authorities.
Also on Thursday, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa ordered the transfer to Sulu province of five Makati City policemen accused of extorting money from a foreigner.
A police senior inspector and four police non-commissioned officers were implicated in the case.
Dela Rosa said the policemen denied they asked for more than P750,000 from a Singaporean tourist, whom they accused of a drug-related offense.
The case illustrated concerns that corrupt policemen were using the anti-illegal drug campaign to extort suspects.
In the complaint, the Singaporean national alleged that a former police major working as the security officer in the building where he lives asked him for a large sum of money that would be given to the five Makati policemen in exchange for dropping the drug case against him.