Melvin Odicta’s death puzzles lawyer
THE lawyer of the Melvin Odicta was on the phone with the Iloilo businessman’s wife Meriam a few minutes before they alighted the roll-on roll-off vessel early on Monday at the Caticlan Port in Aklan Province.
Lawyer Gualberto Cataluña said the Odicta couple were asking him to fetch them there. But before Cataluña could enter the port terminal, unidentified assailants gunned down Melvin and Meriam while they were walking at the walkway around 1:30 a.m.
In an interview on Radyo Inquirer 990 AM, Cataluña said Melvin, the businessman whom authorities tagged as the “biggest drug lord in Iloilo,” was able to call him moments after he was shot in the foot. Meriam died on the spot after sustaining gunshot wounds to the back.
Cataluña said Melvin asked him to assist him and his wife at the terminal but policemen and other security personnel there cordoned off the area and prevented him and the couple’s another lawyer from going inside.
“Hindi na namin sila inabutan dahil pagbaba na pagbaba ng barko, doon na binaril ang mag-asawa pero hindi kaagad napuruhan si Melvin. ‘Yung asawa tinamaan dalawang beses sa likod, tapos si Melvin, tinamaan sa paa. Tumawag pa sa akin, sabi kung pwede pumasok kami doon para sunduin namin sila. Ang problema noong papunta na kami doon, kinordon na buong area. Walang makakapasok na,” the lawyer said.
Cataluña said the shooting happened a few meters from a police checkpoint at the port. But immediately after the victims were shot, security forces manning the checkpoint quickly dispersed too.
“Noong pumunta kami, sila (police) pa nagpapaalis ng tao. Lalapit sana isa pang lawyer namin pero pinapaalis eh. Bakit ‘yung bumaril hindi nila hinanap? Bakit noong binaril ang kliyente namin sa checkpoint, wala na rin ‘yung checkpoint. Noong magkatirahan nawala na sila sa checkpoint,” he said.
From afar, the lawyer saw Melvin in handcuffs being escorted inside a police patrol car.
Police then brought the couple to the Malay District Hospital but were declared dead by the attending physician
“Si Melvin nakita pa namin na nakatayo, dumaan pa pero hindi namin makausap. Nakita namin dumaan naka-posas pinasok sa sasakyan. Tapos dinala ng hospital. Pumunta kami sa Kalibo pero ‘yon pala dinala sa Malay hospital. So noong bumalik kami sa Malay, patay na silang dalawa. Tinanong namin ‘yong doctor, dead on arrival na raw,” he said.
Hours after the killing of the Odictas, President Rodrigo Duterte, who was at the wake of PO1 Gary Cabaguing in Catbalogan, Samar, said that Melvin was the “number one drug lord (in Iloilo)” who was “corrupting everybody, including governors.”
“Iyang Odicta he was really being hunted. Siya iyan eh, ang number one. Inabot talaga siya ng malas. Sino ang sumunod dito kay Odicta? Bakante ngayon,” the President added.
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