“I have always been against the gangster as hero.”
By Alex P. Vidal
IT seems nobody is interested anymore to identify the real killers of Western Visayas’ alleged drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr. alyas “Dragon” and his wife, Merriam.
No one from among his living lawyers (some of them have “disappeared” while another one had been murdered) and family is demanding for the reopening of the case or further investigation.
Not a single relative or associate has come forward to demand “justice” for the double murders that, for a while, sent shock waves to major drug dealers and their minions in Panay Island and the entire Western Visayas for that matter.
Have they grudgingly accepted the couple’s bizarre fate in silence without throwing a single punch in the arena of the justice system?
If they believed the couple was innocent and among the most prominent personalities victimized by extra-judicial killing (EJK) or summary execution in the infant stage of the Duterte administration, they should be making a noise and demanding for justice.
A lone gunman shot the Odicta couple as they alighted from a roll-on roll-off vessel at around 1:30 a.m. in Caticlan, Aklan on August 28, 2016.
Aside from the unidentified triggerman, several “back up” gunmen were believed to be on bard the vessel following the couple since the vessel left the Batangas port.
It was Merriam who was first fatally hit in the back and believed to have died before being rushed to the hospital.
Dragon, wounded on the leg, managed to call his lawyer Gualberto Cataluna over mobile phone.
Before being escorted to the hospital, policemen who arrived reportedly handcuffed Dragon.
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 Merriam was peppered with bullets in the back.
The Odictas were officially declared dead on arrival in a Malay town hospital.
The couple was on the way to Iloilo from Manila where they were reported earlier to have “surrendered” to then Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno.
Some Ilonggos “credited” President Duterte and his then PNP chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” De la Rosa for “putting away” a “big fish.”
However, there were those who believed the Odictas were “silenced” by powerful people who have been protecting them and who reportedly “panicked” when they learned the Odictas had submitted a “list” to Sueno.
It was not known if Sueno, who resigned in 2017, gave the list to President Duterte.
Some of those who protected Dragon were allegedly politicians and police officials.
They haven’t been named until today.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)