• ‘Secure Odicta’s children’

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    The Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa, on Thursday said he will direct the commander of the Western Visayas Police Office (WVPO) to secure the children of slain suspected drug lord Melvin Odicta Sr. and his wife Meriam.

    The PNP chief added that if anyone is pestering or harassing the Odictas, they should report it immediately to the police, assuring that authorities will immediately act on any complaint.

    According to dela Rosa, he will instruct the regional commander of the WVPO, Chief Supt. Jose Gentiles, to immediately secure the orphaned children.

    Also during a news conference in Camp Crame in Quezon City, the PNP chief said they are also curious to find out who could be behind the killing of the Odicta couple.

    “My reaction? We are still investigating because that is a crime. Murder is a crime. We will conduct an investigation even if they are not interested,” dela Rosa replied when asked to comment on the apparent disinterest of the family to file charges.

    Rolando Regalado, elder brother of Meriam and appointed spokesman for the family, said they have not decided on what move to take against the killers.

    “We do not know who the culprits are and we are restrained to do anything until the police investigation is completed,” Regalado explained.

    The bodies of the slain couple were finally brought to their residence in Barangay Malipayon, Iloilo City, on August 31 where a wake will be held.

    The regional police office also put up checkpoints near the Odicta residence and at adjoining Barangay Tanza Esperanza.

    Police authorities and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA) identified Melvin Sr., also known as “Dragon,” as the top high-value drug figure not only in Iloilo but in the Western Visayas region with links to other drug lords in Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas.

    When sought for comment on the statement of Odicta’s lawyer that there is no existing drug matrix allegedly turned over by the couple to the authorities before they were gunned down at the Caticlan Jetty Port in Malay, Aklan on August 29, dela Rosa said he will also ask Gentiles to talk to the children.

    LYDIA C. PENDON AND ANTHONY VARGAS

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