“Even in killing men, observe the rules of propriety.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — Even before the alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS) terrorized criminals in Davao City, the territory of President Rodrigo Duterte, a police “task force” in Iloilo City was already making headlines in the late 80’s and early 90’s for links to the now infamous tagline “extra-judicial killing” or EJK.
The dreaded “Task Force Iron Eagle” led by one Colonel Rolando Maclang, operated under the tutelage of the Metrodistrict Police Command (Metrodiscom), now Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO).
Maclang had been convicted for the kidnapping and murder of a woman Filipino-Chinese cockfighting habitue, Obing Cocjin, and is now serving a jail term in the New Bilibid Prison.
Bodies of EJK victims were mostly dumped in the now Sen. Benigno Aquino Avenue, formerly known as Iloilo Diversion Road when it was still grassy, muddy and dark.
Under the watch of the late former city councilor Achilles Plagata, Metrodiscom earned notoriety for alleged involvement in EJKs where the victims were mostly thieves, rapists, drug pushers, and members of the underworld.
Plagata was a former police colonel who became a city councilor in the 90’s after his retirement. He was swashbuckling and tough-talking and had no mercy for criminals.
Well-loved and feared by police scalawags, he could have been “Iloilo City’s Rodrigo Duterte” had he ran and won for city mayor.
Like Duterte, Plagata also used cuss words and diatribes to torment bad elements in society.
His mere presence in police offices would strike fear in the hearts of lousy policemen who got dressed down like kindergarten pupils.
Task Force Iron Eagle crossed my mind when I leaned that alleged former executioner, retired SPO3 Arturo Lascañas, corroborated the testimony of fellow hitman Edgar Matobato linking President Duterte to the so-called DDS.
When Plagata retired in police service until his stint as elected city official, nobody from among his former henchmen ratted against their former operations.
In other words, Plagata took good care all his minions even during his civilian life.
The likes of Lascañas and Matobato were unheard of during Plagata’s “reign of terror.”