No powder burns found on cops who took Odictas to hospital
ILOILO CITY—Two policemen, who took slain suspected drug lord Melvin Odicta and his wife, Meriam, to a hospital after they were shot by a lone gunman in Malay town in Aklan province on last week, tested negative for gunpowder burns, a police spokesperson said.
SPO1 Nida Gregas, spokesperson of the police’s Special Investigation Task Group Odicta, also said ballistic test results showed the 9mm hand guns issued to the two policemen belonging to the Provincial Public Safety Company did not match the slugs taken from the Odicta couple.
A paraffin test is conducted to determine if the subject of the test has recently fired a gun while ballistic tests are used to cross-match firearms and slugs to determine the weapon used in a crime.
The Aklan provincial police had ordered the two policemen to undergo tests amid allegations of lawyers and family members of the Odicta couple that Melvin was still alive when he was carried to a police patrol and taken to the Malay Municipal Hospital. The Philippine National Police had withheld the names of the policemen, citing security concerns.
Doctors declared the Odicta couple dead at the hospital.
Lawyer Gualberto Cataluña Jr. earlier told the Inquirer that Melvin called him through his mobile phone at 1:35 a.m. on Aug. 29 after he and his wife were shot minutes after they got off a passenger vessel at the Caticlan port in Malay.
“Attorney, get here. I’m hit in the leg,” Melvin supposedlytold the lawyer in Hiligaynon.
Cataluña said he and several of his companions, who were outside the Caticlan port, saw Melvin standing near a police vehicle with one of his hands in cuffs.
But police officials belied Cataluña’s allegations, insisting the couple were unconscious when they were carried to the police patrol and taken to the hospital. They said Melvin was not handcuffed.
Before they were killed, the Odictas met with Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno in Metro Manila to clear their names after they were linked to the illegal drug trade.
Odicta’s relatives, in a statement last week, said they were no longer interested in filing a case or pursuing the investigation on the couple’s slaying.
Noel Odicta, village chief of Barangay Tanza-Esperanza and younger brother of Melvin, also sought forgiveness for whatever wrongdoing the couple had committed. Law enforcement agencies had tagged Melvin as the leader of two major groups trading illegal drugs in the Western Visayas region.
Noel asked President Duterte and PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa to help ensure the security of the couple’s children and other family members, saying they were “innocent” and had no involvement in the illegal drug trade.
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