Scared drug offenders yield to Maguindanao authorities PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 July 2016 11:57

MAGUINDANAO — More than 6,000 drug peddlers and dependents in this province surrendered in the past two weeks, scared by the deaths of offenders in a series of recent attacks in different towns.

The latest to yield to authorities was a group of 197 adolescents and adults from different barangays in Pandag town in the second district of Maguindanao.

Their return to the fold of law on Wednesday came after Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and his younger sibling, Khadafeh, an assemblyman in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, warned of serious embarrassment their families could experience if they get killed with their cadavers marked as that of criminals.

So important is family pride among ethnic Maguindanaons that most cases of violent rido (clan wars) in the province were sparked by affronts to “maratabat,” a generic Moro term for clan pride and honor.

“There is no difference between eating pork and sniffing shabu. You may brag about not having eaten pork as Muslims, but you sniff shabu which is just as just as sinful because shabu is `haram’ (forbidden) in Islam,” the governor said in a message during the surrender rite.

Assemblyman Khadafeh said residents of Pandag have no other option but choose from their “OK and sorry policies” in dealing with drug users and traffickers.

“If you choose to surrender and reform you shall be given a chance to live peacefully in your villages and everything shall be OK. If you do not surrender, or if you resume with your vices, or trade shabu again after this, then sorry to your families,” Assemblyman Khadafeh told the group.

The ARMM lawmaker and his mayor-spouse said they are grateful to their constituent-barangay chairmen for helping the police and military warn local folks on the serious repercussions of violating the Philippine Dangerous Drugs Act with President Rodrigo Duterte at the helm of the national government.

“We personally know President Duterte. He doesn’t lie. He makes good with his threats,” Assemblyman Khadafeh said.

Two from the group that surrendered, who asked to be identified only as Karim and Mustapha, said they were both bothered by the warning of the Mangudadatu siblings to prosecute offenders if they do not reform.

Karim said there were mysterious disappearances of no less than 20 suspected drug peddlers and the daytime murder of at least seven others in Buluan town when Gov. Mangudadatu was still its municipal mayor.

It was from the territory of Buluan that the barangays covered now by the administratively infant municipality of Pandag was carved out.

“Habang may panahon pa magbago na,” seconded Mustapha, a confessed “tulak,” the common street jargon for drug pusher.

Senior Supt. Nikson Muksan, who is Maguindanao’s police director since late 2014, said 6,097 offenders had surrendered to the police and local officials in other Maguindanao towns in a span of two weeks prior to Wednesday’s event in Pandag.

“Maguindanao province now accounts for most number of offenders that surrendered to the police in all provinces of ARMM,” Muksan said.

The ARMM covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Muksan said credit has to go to units of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division and the office of the provincial governor for helping them carry out Duterte’s anti-narcotics operation in Maguindanao.

The Pandag activity on Wednesday was preceded by Tuesday’s surrender to Lt. Col. Ricky Bunayog of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion of a large-scale drug trafficker, Abdulatip Pendaliday, also en ethnic Maguindanaon.

He is most known in his alias “grass cutter” for his involvement in clandestine propagation of the prohibited Marijuana plants.

Pendaliday, who turned in an M-16 assault rifle and.50 caliber Barret sniping rifle, operated a syndicate that dispersed shabu to different barangays in Maguindanao’s adjoining Pandag, Buluan, Mangudadatu, Datu Paglas, Paglat and S.K. Pendatun towns.