“He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — In the hands of his executioners, suspected drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr, popularly known as “Dragon”, saw imminent death.
Based on manner of his execution, there was no way Dragon could escape and survive.
A gunman shot Dragon and wife Merriam as they alighted from a roll-on roll-off vessel at around 1:30 a.m. in Caticlan, Aklan. August 28, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Superintendent Dionardo Carlos confirmed.
“Please bring me out here,” Dragon, limping with a bullet wound on the right foot, pleaded to his lawyer Gualberto Cataluna over mobile phone.
The most feared underworld personality could not even spit a fire as he struggled to avoid being finished off after surviving the first volley of shots.
But he was trapped. And Dragon probably knew he was finished.
Dragon was supposed to be brought to a Malay hospital but witnesses, including Cataluna, claimed policemen handcuffed him.
Minutes later, the man considered as “the most powerful and well-connected drug lord” in Western Visayas, was dead.
He had bullet wounds in the body and head, it was reported.
Before he died, Dragon witnessed how his wife, Merriam, was peppered with bullets in the back.
The Odictas were declared dead on arrival in the hospital.
The couple were on their way to Iloilo from Manila where they were reported earlier to have “surrendered” to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno.
Cataluna insisted they sought Sueno’s help because of threats they were getting in Iloilo and did not surrender.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa earlier tagged Dragon as “the drug lord.” He had vowed to wipe out all the drug lords in six months.
There was no evidence that the hard-hitting PNP chief had ordered Dragon’s killing. He asserted that he does not tolerate summary executions but vowed to “get hard” on criminals, especially the drug lords.
For a while, Dragon seemed untouchable.
He repeatedly denied envolvement in trafficking of illegal drugs insisting he was a legitimate taxi operator. The couple managed the Melvin taxi company, among other businesses in Iloilo City.
For so many years now, a mere mention of Dragon’s name evoked fears among local law enforcers, business rivals, politicians, and crusading mediamen.
He had “friends” in almost all sectors and organizations. He was also reportedly a “benevolent” election campaign contributor.
Residents in places where Dragon had businesses and houses wouldn’t comment about the nature of his other “businesses” and sources of income, we were informed. He also reportedly provided sacks of rice, cash for tuition and hospital bills, among other financial assistance, to poor neighbors.
Some corrupt cops, politicians, thugs, and media personalities were reportedly under his payroll.
Some of the unsolved gruesome murders involving policemen, media personalities, underworld characters and even ordinary employees had been reportedly linked to Dragon and his associates.
No charges have been filed against them, however, in relation to these gangland-style killings.
Aksyon Radyo, a local radio station in Iloilo City, became Dragon’s fiercest critic and continued to expose his alleged illegal activities amid threats of reprisal and harassment.
Dragon and his cohorts had been charged with trying to invade the radio station two years ago. They were caught on CCTV seizing some gadget owned by the radio station during the raid.
Dragon’s death reportedly left a vaccum in the leadership of illegal drugs in the city and province of Iloilo.
“At least his tentacles will now start to be decimated now that the main head has been cut off,” a namesake, Boyet, who now lives in California, said. “He was probably killed by his protectors for fear he might squeal on their partnership.”
Boyet said some of Dragon’s protectors “are so powerful and prominent. Ilonggos will be shocked if they will know who they are.”
Boyet, a former underworld character, said Dragon’s protectors had been “looking for the right opportunity” to strike starting when they learned that Dragon’s name was included in the list of suspected drug lords in the country secured by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“They have finally caught him up in Caticlan,” Boyet averred. “Happy days (for the Ilonggos) will come again (after Dragon’s demise).”