Police to probe drug suspect’s ‘suicide’ in Zamboanga City jailBy Julie Alipala
ZAMBOANGA CITY–The reported suicide of a drug suspect inside the holding facility of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) here last week has sparked a police-led investigation, the city police office said.
Senior Superintendent Adzhar Albani, PDEA director for Western Mindanao, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer they had no problem with the investigation being conducted by the city police as it would shed light on the death of Melvin Loor on September 7.
Loor, 40, was arrested around 1 a.m. on September 6 during an operation by drug agents in Barangay (village) Upper Calarian.
Albani has tagged him as “one of the four notorious drug pushers” who caters to soldiers using illegal substances in the area,
Based on Albani’s report, Loor was being kept at the PDEA holding center here after his arrest.
“He was our lone detainee,” he said.
Albani said about eight hours after his arrest, Loor was to be presented to the media and barangay officials, along with the items seized from his possession.
He said a PDEA agent tasked to fetch Loor from his holding cell later frantically shouted for help.
Albani said the PDEA agent, whom he did not name, had informed them that Loor committed suicide by hanging himself on a rope tied around his neck.
“We were able to rush him to a nearby hospital. Doctors were able to revive him and even declared him stable for transfer to a government-owned hospital,” he said.
He said they transferred the drug suspect to the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC).
“The following day at the ZCMC, the detainee expired,” Albani said.
Dr. Maribel Felisario, ZCMC spokesperson, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Loor arrived at the hospital around 1:30 p.m. of September 6.
She said Loor was “no longer breathing on his own” when rushed to the ZCMC and had to be attached to a breathing apparatus at an intensive care unit. She described Loor’s condition as “very serious.”
“He died 12 hours after being confined here,” Felisario said.
Senior Supt. Jaime Mejia, city police chief, said the investigation was being conducted to determine if there was foul play in Loor’s death.
Albani said PDEA should not be blamed for Loor’s death as he had committed suicide.
“We are open for any investigation if his relatives are insisting there was foul play,” he said.