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ARMM cop charged in plot to kill Iloilo cop linked to drugs

Officer on leave tagged as gunman of group in vigilante-style assassination try

ILOILO CITY — Police here have filed a frustrated murder complaint against a policeman on leave who was tagged as the gunman in a botched assassination of another policeman accused of involvement in illegal drugs.

PO2 Melvin Mocorro has been placed under hospital arrest and is heavily guarded at Iloilo Mission Hospital where he is confined with bullet wounds in the chest and leg.

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Fired back

He was suspected to be one of three motorcycle-riding gunmen who shot PO1 Dorben Acap on June 26 in the village of Dulonan in Arevalo District here, according to Senior Insp. Mary Grace Borio, Arevalo police station chief.

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Acap, who was driving his Honda sedan, was wounded in the shoulder but managed to fire back at the assailants, hitting one of them believed to be Mocorro.

Acap was brought to The Medical City hospital in Molo District and later identified Mocorro through photographs as the gunman.

Acap, assigned to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit at Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City, was among several policemen being investigated for alleged involvement in illegal drugs, an allegation that he has repeatedly denied.

Policemen from the Arevalo District police station were alerted when Western Visayas Medical Center reported that a man with bullet wounds was brought to the hospital shortly after the attack on Acap.

Wrong place

Investigators said Mocorro told hospital personnel and policemen, who initially investigated him, that he was shot in the village of Pakiad in Oton town, a few kilometers from where Acap was shot.

But the Oton police station issued a certificate that no shooting was reported in the town that day and time, according to Borio.

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She said footage from security cameras at the crime scene showed the gunman wearing the same clothes worn by Mocorro when he was brought to the hospital.

Investigators were still waiting for blood tests taken on Mocorro and those at the crime scene.

“He has been identified by the victim and we have (pieces) of circumstantial evidence,” Borio told Inquirer.

Mocorro refused to issue further statements to investigators.

ARMM policeman

Borio said investigators had confirmed that Mocorro is currently assigned to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police office but went on leave from June 15 to 30.

Investigators were still determining why Moccoro, who was previously assigned to Western Visayas, was in Iloilo.

The attack on Acap came four days after unidentified gunmen shot dead village chief Remia Prevendido-Gregori in a family-owned resort in San Joaquin town in Iloilo.

Gregori, who was accused of involvement in illegal drugs, was the elder sister of Richard Prevendido, one of the alleged drug lords in Western Visayas.

Policemen shot dead Prevendido and a son in a police operation in Iloilo City on Sept. 1 last year.

Last year, a Reuters report quoted two senior police officers as alleging that most killings of drugs suspects attributed to vigilantes were backed or carried out by policemen who were paid for the job.

The report and claims of the police officers (who were not identified in the report) were repeatedly denied by officials of the Philippine National Police.

In its annual report issued in January this year, the nongovernment human rights organization Human Rights Watch said the antidrug campaign of the Duterte administration has resulted in more than 12,000 deaths.

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TAGS: Dorben Acap, drug killings, EJKs, extrajudicial killings, frustrated murder, Melvin Mocorro, rogue cops, war on drugs
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