Alleged Iloilo drug lord Melvin Odicta Sr. and his wife Meriam were shot dead at around 1:30 a.m. Monday at the Caticlan Jetty Port in Aklan.
According to Aklan Police Provincial Director PSSupt. John Jamili, the Odictas were onboard a 2go Ro-Ro from Batangas to Caticlan Port, when two unidentified assailants shot the couple dead upon arriving.
Atty. Raymond Fortun, the legal counsel of the Odictas, confirmed to CNN Philippines the death of the couple. He said their camp is gathering more information on the incident.
Fortun added the Odictas are “good people,” and urged the media to monitor developments on the case.
Meanwhile, Atty. Gualberto Cataluña, lawyer of the family, also confirmed that Meriam was shot on her back while Melvin was targeted on his leg, head, and chest.
“Melvin even called me for help but they were declared dead when they arrived at the Malay District Hospital,” Cataluña said.
Philippine National Police (PNP)-Panay is now studying the possibility that members of drug syndicates may be behind the killing of the Odicta couple.
President Rodrigo Duterte said the death of the Odicta couple is not his “problem,” as “he (Melvin Odicta Sr.) was corrupting everybody.”
“He is wanted and is the number one drug lord. Talagang drug lord ito and I just was informed early this morning that ‘yung Odicta couple, ‘yung mag-asawa, patay… So I cannot say anything. Good or bad, wala ako kasi ‘yan ang pinili niya eh,” Duterte said.
[Translation: “He is wanted and is the number one drug lord. He is really a drug lord and I just was informed early this morning that the Odicta couple was shot dead… So I cannot say anything. Good or bad, that’s not in my hands anymore because that was the path he chose.”]
“‘Yang Odicta was really being hunted. Sa Iloilo, siya ‘yung number one. Inabot talaga siya ng malas. Sino’ng gusto sumunod dito kay Odicta?”
[Translation: “That Odicta was really being hunted. He is the number one in Iloilo. Bad luck got the better of him. Who wants to have the same fate with Odicta?”]
Melvin Odicta Sr., also known as “Dragon,” was considered as one of the drug lords in Western Visayas. He operates the Melvin taxi fleet, a van service, and a restaurant.
Although he was not on President Rodrigo Duterte’s “narco-list,” Melvin was on the watchlist of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said the Odictas get their supplies from drug syndicates from the National Bilibid Prison (NBP), which Dela Rosa said is the “command center” of the drug trade in the country.
“Hindi lang Bilibid (NBP)… May iba pang kulungan sa Samar, sa Davao. Mga kulungan doon na may mga operation doon na ganun,” Dela Rosa said. “Wala naman ibang nag-co-control. Ang nag-co-control ng drug trade dito ‘yung mga tao naman sa loob ngBilibid. The command center is there.”
[Translation: “Not just Bilibid… There are other prisons in Samar, in Davao. There are prisons there with that kind of operation. No one else controls it. People inside the Bilibid control the drug trade here. The command center is there.”]
An intelligence report revealed Odicta managed to connect with the drug lords when he was convicted for possession of marijuana in the ’90s and detained in the NBP. Fortun confirmed the conviction of Odicta.
On Thursday, Odicta and his wife Meriam appeared before Interior Sec. Mike Sueno at Camp Crame to clear their names and deny the allegations.
A day after, Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog asked the PNP to arrest Odicta, provided that there is strong evidence against the alleged drug lord.
Mabilog admitted he has received information on how Odicta is running the illegal drug trade in Panay region. The mayor said the arrest of Odicta will help improve the image of the city.
“If the police has everything on him, they should not let him go. They should not release him para the stigma in this city of Iloilo, matapos na at malinis na,” Mabilog said.
[Translation: “If the police has everything on him, they should not let him go. They should not release him so that the stigma in this city of Iloillo may be put to an end.”]
The President earlier said Iloilo is the most “shabulized” province in the country. The President also included Mabilog on his “narco-politicians” list.
Meanwhile, in an interview with CNN Philippines, Interior Sec. Mike Sueno said reports got to him that three firearms were found to be with the Odictas. Sueno said he was told that the weapons were found in a separate vehicle, possibly belonging to the companions of the couple.