Iloilo probes 3 village chiefs with drug lord relatives


ILOILO CITY: The city council here will invite three barangay (village) chairmen whose relatives were identified by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the police as high-value targets operating in the city and nearby provinces on Panay Island. City councilor Plaridel Nava filed a resolution approved by the Sanggunian Panglunsod (SP) to invite Keith Espinosa of Barangay Monica Blumentritt; Remia Provendido Gregori of Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao; and Noemi Hablo of Barangay Desamparados, Jaro, all in Iloilo City. They are expected to shed light on the proliferation of shabu in their respective villages. Espinosa is the wife of Jesus “Jingjing” Espinosa, a councilman in the same village and ranked No. 2 illegal drug trafficker. Jingjing, a close associate of slain drug lord Melvin Odicta, surrendered to the police last week for a frustrated murder case committed 12 years ago. His house yielded a number of firearms and ammunition and seven sachets of shabu. Gregori, meanwhile, is a sister of alleged drug lord Richard Prevendido and several of her relatives were identified as drug suspects, including a son of Richard who was caught in a buy-bust recently. Hablo’s husband, Rusty Hablo, is considered a high-value target who did not surrender to Project Tokhang. Two of their sons were arrested last week for selling shabu to a poseur buyer. If the village chiefs did not include names of their relatives in a report to the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council, Nava said, they would face charges for dereliction of duty, gross dishonesty, negligence and incompetence.


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