Sueno meet provoked Odicta slay? | Inquirer News

Sueno meet provoked Odicta slay?

/ 03:28 AM August 31, 2016

ILOILO CITY—The meeting between alleged drug lord Melvin Odicta and Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno could have triggered Monday’s hit on the businessman and his wife, Meriam, police investigators said.

A statement from the Aklan Provincial Police Office said one of the possible motives behind the attack was the alleged disclosure by the couple of the identities of drug personalities in Western Visayas to the interior secretary.

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At least one gunman shot the couple at the walkway after they had disembarked from a roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessel at the Caticlan port in Malay town, Aklan province, early Monday.

The couple and several companions were on their way home from Batangas province to Iloilo City after meeting with Sueno in Manila on Aug. 25.

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In an earlier interview, Gualberto Cataluña, one of Odicta’s lawyers, said his clients met with Sueno to clear their name and seek assistance because of concerns over their security.  He also denied that his clients went to Sueno to reveal the names of drug protectors, including politicians and police officials.

Confidential

But in a press conference after the meeting, Sueno said Odicta had brought some “confidential” documents. He, however, declined to reveal the nature and contents of the documents and why they were considered confidential.

Odicta, 66, was identified by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police as the head of one of two main drug groups in Iloilo that allegedly supplied illegal drugs to the whole province of Iloilo and other parts of Panay Island.

But the couple had repeatedly denied this and had insisted that they were business operators who own and operate Melvin taxi fleet, Meriam transport service and Red Paprika bar and restaurant.

The PNP office in Western Visayas has formed Task Group Odicta headed by Senior Supt. Alfredo Valdez, deputy regional director for operations, to coordinate the investigation of various units.

Senior Supt. John Mitchell Jamili, Aklan police director and task group commander, said investigators were still determining the identity of the gunman who had eluded police operations. He said witnesses saw the killer run toward the parked vehicles waiting to be loaded on the Ro-Ro vessel, but that the malfunctioning security camera at the passenger walkway had hampered his identification.

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Shot at close range

 

Police said it was possible more than one gunman was involved because the autopsy conducted by Dr. Owen Lebaquin, medico-legal officer of the PNP crime laboratory in Western Visayas, showed two types of firearms used against Melvin: a  9mm handgun and either a .45-cal. or .40-cal. pistol.

Odicta had four bullet wounds, one each in the right thigh, the right buttocks, below the right armpit and the right side of the head.

Lebaquin said the wounds showed that he was shot at close range in the head.

Meriam, 52, died from a single but fatal bullet wound in the lower back, which hit her spinal cord and a major blood vessel, said the medico-legal officer.

Cataluña had claimed that Odicta was wounded only in the leg and was even able to call him by mobile phone to ask for help. He said he saw his client standing on a police patrol vehicle with one his hands in handcuffs.

Dead on arrival

The lawyer said he and other Odicta family members were later surprised that the couple were pronounced dead on arrival at Malay Municipal Hospital.

But Jamili denied these allegations and said the Odictas were already unconscious when they were loaded into a patrol vehicle and brought to the hospital. He asked that the two policemen on board the patrol vehicle be investigated to dispel the allegations.

The PNP said it could not yet determine the impact of Odicta’s death on the supply of illegal drugs in the region.

“Let us wait and see. Others could take his place,” said

Supt. Gilbert Gorero, regional police spokesperson.

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TAGS: drug killings, Melvin Odicta, Meriam Odicta, Nation, News
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