An alleged high-value drug lord—Melvin Odicta Sr.—and his wife Meriam Regalado Odicta were killed by unknown assassins while they were leaving the Caticlan Jetty Port in Malay, Aklan, early Monday morning.
Odicta, also known as “Dragon,” was on the watch list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as one of the biggest illegal drug financiers in Western Visayas, particularly in Iloilo province and its capital Iloilo City.
Police said the couple were passing through the jetty port canopy upon embarking from a ship when the killers attacked.
First to fall from the assassins’ bullets was Meriam, who was shot in the back. His husband was reportedly shot in the legs.
Their lawyer, Gualberto Cataluña, claimed Odicta was still alive and had even called him by cellphone to report that he was hit in the legs.
But when they saw “Dragon” at the Malay hospital, Cataluna said Odicta bore gunshots in the head and body.
These gunshots, according to the lawyer, must be explained by policemen who brought Odicta to the hospital.
With the couple at the roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) were two personal assistants who carried their luggage and personal belongings while four other companions, including their son Melvin Jr., and two vehicles were left behind at the Batangas Port.
The police reportedly discovered three firearms inside the vehicles.
According to Cataluña, the couple were to be met by their lawyers at the Caticlan port because no vehicles were considered safe for them to ride on their own.
The Odicta couple took the ro-ro vessel Saint Anthony de Padua of 2Go Shipping from Metro Manila to Batangas Port on Sunday, August 28, bound for Caticlan.
The boat was expected to arrive around 1:30 a.m. on Monday and then sail to Iloilo City where the couple reside.
The Caticlan jetty port, gateway to the famous tourist island of Boracay in northern Aklan, is some four hours’ ride from Iloilo City.
Cataluna said the couple have no pending case involving illegal drugs before any court in the region.
The Odictas are engaged in several businesses in Iloilo, operating taxi units, shuttle vans from Iloilo airport to the city, two restaurants, fishponds in northern Iloilo, water refilling station, Internet café, among others.
The couple went to Camp Crame in Quezon City last August 25 but failed to see the Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald de la Rosa, to air their side on allegations that “Dragon” is the biggest drug lord in Iloilo.
Instead, they met with Interior Secretary Miguel Sueno who told them to present their own illegal-drug matrix to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Sueno said the Odictas also told him they were receiving death threats when he met them last Thursday.
When asked if the Odictas mentioned big personalities during their meeting, the Interior secretary answered that they do not have to disclose it , citing ongoing investigation.
De la Rosa was in Bacolod City on that date and went to Iloilo City the following day. He was also in Boracay on August 27-28.
Meanwhile, Chief Supt. Jose Gentiles, Western Visayas Regional Police Office director, said the Aklan Provincial Police Office has created a special task force to investigate the assassination of the Odicta couple.
Gentiles added that the Western Command condemns the brutal killing of the Odictas and had offered their sympathy to their family.
“We appeal to [those who have]direct knowledge of the incident to come out in the open and help in our investigation so that justice will prevail,” he said in a statement.