MANILA, Philippines — The recovery of P10 million worth of shabu in the house of former Marawi mayor Omar Solitario Ali affirmed the link between the ongoing crisis in the city and illegal drugs, Malacañang said on Saturday.
Security forces seized two kilos of shabu worth P10 million from a house of Ali while conducting clearing operations in battle ravaged Marawi City last Friday. Authorities are convinced that the house was used by the Maute terrorists as a safe house.
“This development will hopefully bring to bear the realities existing in the area about the close relation between the illegal drug trade and this ongoing rebellion,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
Ali is one of the persons in the arrest order issued by the Defense department after President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao last May 23. He was also one of the politicians accused by Duterte of having ties with the illegal drugs trade.
Ali’s brother Fajad Salic, also a former mayor of Marawi, has been charged with rebellion for allegedly supporting the Maute terrorists that occupied Marawi City last month.
Duterte has repeatedly claimed that money from illegal drugs is funding the terrorist activity in Mindanao.
“Drugs fueled martial law…And it’s because of the drug money, they were funding the terrorism. It’s part of rebellion,” he said in a speech in Tacurong City last June 7.
In a report on martial law that he submitted to Congress, the president said the Maute militants have ties to foreign armed groups and are benefitting from illegal drug money.
“Reports abound that foreign-based terrorist groups, the ISIS in particular, as well as illegal drug money, provide financial and logistical support to the Maute group,” Duterte said in the report.
“Considering the network and alliance-building activities among terrorist groups, local criminals, and lawless armed men, the siege of Marawi City is a vital cog in attaining their longstanding goal: Absolute control over the entirety of Mindanao,” he added.
In a speech before military troops in Sulu last May 29, Duterte said Mindanao has been a "hotbed" of shabu as some politicians have made a fortune out of the illegal drug.
"(It) actually started with drugs. And they were producing drugs halfway, not really for business but to fund the terrorism," he said.