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What Mabilog needs to hear from Drilon

“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.”
–Blaise Pascal

15231687_10208345768707238_507859276_o-copyBy Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — When President Duterte called Iloilo City as the “most shabulized” city in the Philippines and named Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog as among the 159 local government executives in the entire country allegedly linked to narcotics trade in August 2016, Senator Frank Drilon expressed “hurt” and “sadness” that the City of Love has been “tarnished.”
Drilon never exonerated his second cousin Mabilog.
“Let me state that I am saddened and hurt that the perception that Iloilo local officials are involved in the drug trade became the basis of such a sweeping description of Iloilo,” Drilon sharply reacted.
“All the efforts of the Ilongos for the past five years to make Iloilo an attractive and progressive investment destination and a livable city is negated by a sweeping judgment of the city and province of Iloilo.”
Ilonggos have been waiting for Drilon to at least vouch for Mabilog, who had to agonize once again when he and fellow mayors faced his tormentor in Malacanang for another round of admonition on January 12, 2017.
The former senate president has been mum over Mabilog’s predicament.

DINAGYANG

Last January 22, 2017 before the start of the ati-ati tribes contest of the Dinagyang Festival at the Freedom Grandstand in Iloilo City, Drilon reiterated his concern and love for the city, but never mentioned anything that could buoy Mabilog’s spirit in as far as the mayor’s dilemma with President Duterte is concerned.
Drilon announced: “We made a vow that in five years time, we will change the face of Iloilo. Today we are proud. Iloilo is the most progressive city in the whole country.”
“We made this change possible because of everyone’s support, because of a united leadership. This is why we’re able to move forward.”
Although the Liga ng Barangay (League of Barangays) headed by Reyland Hervias as well as Hervias’ colleagues in the Iloilo City Council have rallied behind the embattled Mabilog, it cannot be denied that he is still hurting from President Duterte’s tirades.

HIGHER

If there is any public official who holds a higher office in the country today who knows Mabilog so well, it’s Drilon.
Any statement from a highly-regarded politician like Drilon that would at least contradict or belie the accusation made by President Duterte against the No. 5 World Mayor, can more or less mitigate the burden Mabilog has been carrying inside his heart.
It can also help disabuse the minds of those who swallowed President Duterte’s allegations against Mabilog hook, line, and sinker.
For many Ilonggos who follow the issues on narco mayors in the country, only Drilon’s sympathetic words can help assuage Mabilog’s frazzled emotion; and, perhaps, influence the thinking of some of those who have written off Mabilog politically as a result of that negative tag.

 

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Death sentence for Iloilo mayors in ‘narco’ list?

“Do I favor the death penalty? Theoretically, I do, but when you realize that there’s a four percent error rate, you end up putting guilty people to death.” — Gary Johnson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY — I bumped off two stories over the weekend to pave the way for an article I deemed to be more urgent and relevant in the heels of President Duterte’s speech during the swearing in of several newly-appointed cabinet officials on January 9 in Malacanang.
President Duterte called “narco-politicians” as “dead men walking.”
He vowed to kill big time “shabu” dealers, and the next batch, reports quoted him as saying, would be the city and municipal mayors engaged in illegal drugs and whose names he mentioned weeks after he assumed office in July 2016.
I was so alarmed because some of the mayors President Duterte had linked to illegal drugs based on the list provided by his intelligence men were from my place in Western Visayas.
They were Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City, Alex Centena of Calinog, Iloilo; Siegfredo Betita of Carles, Iloilo; and Mariano Malones of Maasin, Iloilo.
Except for Betita, the three are known to me personally. Malones was our former business manager in the News Express; Centena is a friend way back in the 80’s when he was not yet a public official; and Mabilog is our mayor in Iloilo City.

DEATH LIST

Are they among those included in President Duterte’s so-called death list?
We want to know. We need to know especially because there has been no solid evidence linking them to illegal drugs.
They could only be victims of political black propaganda or vendetta. They were never convicted by any competent court.
In fact, no formal charges have been filed against them yet. They were vilified, along probably with several others who could be innocent in the Duterte list, without any formal trial.
What if the president erred or the list he was reading was a sham and contained falsehood? Since July 2016 when their names were disclosed as alleged drug protectors, the government has failed to substantiate the allegations.
Therefore it’s premature to condemn them; it’s not fair to punish them with a harsh “death sentence” which could become only another case of extra-judicial killing, God forbid.

LAW

While most Filipinos who elected President Dutere in the May 2016 polls support his campaign to stamp out criminality in the country especially the president’s “all-out” war policy against illegal drugs, pressures from human rights advocates, including the United Nations and other international organizations, continued to hound the president as dead bodies piled up in the streets.
Most of those killed in “shootouts” with police were drug addicts and small-time peddlers of illegal substance. Their families claimed the dead were victims of summary execution.
The Philippines doesn’t have any law on death penalty. Convicted criminals spend time in jail and are not killed.
If these mayors are executed when their guilt was not yet proven beyond reasonable doubt–and in the absence of any law that supports the death penalty–the president becomes an executioner and violator of the law, not the dead mayors.

 
 

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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Dragon’s group did not order the murders’

“I can’t stand squealers, hit that guy.” — Albert Anastasia

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Who ordered the gruesome killings of suspected drug lord Melvin “Boyet” Odicta and wife Meriam?
“Everyone has been pointing to Dragon’s (Odicta’s other name) alleged cohorts or protectors as the culprits. The group did not do it. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg is not only illogical, but also suicidal on the part of the group,” argued a reliable source who wanted to be called only as “Strawberry.”
Strawberry, who now lives in New Jersey, was a former “close friend” of the slain Odicta when the latter was still allegedly “locked in a bitter turf war” in Brgy. Tanza-Esperanza, Iloilo City Proper in the early 90’s with Levi Zerrudo, inmate in the Bureau of Jail and Management Penology (BJMP),
Zerrudo, also known as “Bitas”, was reportedly Odicta’s main rival in distribution of illegal drugs in the area. They were both small fries at that time, Strawberry said.

CHECK

“I checked with the group and they swore they had no knowledge about the hit,” Strawberry disclosed.
He added: “They will have everything to lose and nothing to gain if they eliminated Dragon. Granting that Dragon and Meriam were able to give the list of their alleged protectors to DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) Secretary (Ismael) Sueno, killing the couple won’t change anything.”
Odicta’s lawyer Raymund Fortun denied that the couple submitted a list of their protectors or “illegal drug trade matrix” to Sueno during their meeting two days before the murders.
If the alleged protectors wanted to silence Odicta and his wife, they would have ordered their killing before they went to the DILG, Strawberry pointed out.
He said the murders of the Odicta couple “bore the signatures of highly-organized assassins which no ordinary group or organization can command, maintain and sustain.”
Strawberry said “he was very suspicious with the reactions and expressions” of both Philippines National Police (PNP) chief, Director Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and President Rodrigo Duterte himself after news of the couple’s killings spread all over the country.

FOLLOW

Strawberry said the assassins could have followed the couple’s movement even before they left for Batangas port to take a ro-ro ship to Caticlan, Aklan where they were peppered with bullets while walking in the port area at around 1:30 a.m. on August 29.
They suffered fatal gunshot wounds and pronounced dead on arrival in a hospital in Malay, Aklan
“The signs were not good starting when they were stopped in a police checkpoint in Batangas, where three of their companions have been arrested (after several unlicensed guns were found inside their vehicle) while Dragon and Meriam were allowed to board the ship,” he stressed.
Strawberry also clarified that “Meriam’s former husband was Bondying Porras, not Tikboy Porras.”
Tikboy Porras, murdered in a beach resort in Calumpang, Iloilo City in the late 80’s, was known as “Boy Gold”. Tikboy Porras was a notorious holdupman and hired killer, not drug pusher, Strawberry corrected.
He was reportedly murdered by his former cohorts.

SHOT

Bondying Porras was shot dead by SP01 Moloy Vasquez of the Molo PNP Station when he ran amuck in Brgy. Tanza-Esperanza.
“Bondying Porras was engaged in selling of illegal drugs and his wife Meriam knew about his activities,” Strawberry explained. “Meriam and Boyet Odicta alyas Dragon fell in love with each other and decided to live together after Porras’ death.”
Meriam met Dragon after his release from the New Bilibid Prison.
They reportedly collaborated “and used Bondying Porras’ sources and connections in illegal drugs trade.”
Competitions were still tight among local suppliers of illegal drugs. In the Zamora waterfront area, some of the alleged “notorious” pushers then were Wendel and Tiny Garcia, Alison Benid, and White Deneros.
A certain “Tongtong” reportedly controlled the Jaro-CPU area, “but the Zalbaloza brothers were running the show,” the informant further said.
La Paz district area was then reportedly controlled by “Mommy Fe”, “Bulani”, “Italyano”, “Umok”, and “Mike.”
“Bulani”, nephew of the late alleged gambling capitalist Nilo Soliva, was the first to fall in a renewed anti-drugs campaign initiated by then Metrodistrict Command chief, Col. Vicented Neptuno, who used K–9 dogs to track down illegal substances in raids.
“The playing field was even and Boyet Odicta was among the ordinary players. There were no drug lords then,” Strawberry disclosed.

PROMINENT

“The most prominent name in illegal drugs at that time was Boysi Maloto of Molo district. He was connected to the late former Pototan Vice Mayor Pito Parcon. Maloto was killed by anti-narcotics operatives led by Col. Arada in a raid in his hideout in Molo,” Strawberry added.
“When Maloto fell, the Odicta couple moved in, as they started to gain the respect of big time shabu suppliers in the Bilibid because Boyet Odicta did not use drugs and was only interested in business together with Meriam,” he said.
Strawberry further revealed: “The names of Prevendido brothers emerged in Brgy. Bakhaw, Mandurriao and their alleged protector was a high-ranking police general from New Lucena, Iloilo.”

SERIOUS

When serious competitions for distribution in the city and province started in mid-90’s, violence started to escalate and Odicta reportedly emerged with upper hand because he utilized ex-convicts from the BJMP and New Bilibid Prison to neutralize his rivals and murder those who stood on their way.
“Odicta finally gained control of illegal drugs business in Western Visayas when his rivals started to fall in police raids one after another, and when suppliers in the Bilibid gave him their full trust and confidence. With Meriam’s built-in tentacles inherited from Bondying Porras, they became formidable,” Strawberry concluded. “Odicta solidified his hold of illegal drugs trade when he perfected the protection racket scheme by including in his alleged payola corrupt members of the PNP, government, media, and judiciary.”

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in CRIME

 

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Odicta once arrested for ‘snatching’

“To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace.”

— Malcolm X

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — I first heard the name Melvin “Boyet” Odicta in the early 90’s when I edited the stories of our police beat reporters, Ruby Silubrico and Ednalyn Belonio-Diamante, in Sun Star, a daily newspaper in Western Visayas in the Philippines.
If Odicta was not arrested in a buy-bust operation and raids conducted by elements of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) then headed by Supt. Vicente Neptuno in his residence in Brgy. Tanza-Esperanza, City Proper, he was nabbed for, believe it or not, snatching!
Since Odicta was never convicted of snatching, either complainants refused to pursue the case for fear of reprisal or lack of interest, or he was a victim of a mistaken identity as he had insisted, according to police.
In other words, the man who raked in millions of pesos allegedly in trafficking of illegal drugs in year 2000 up and became the most-feared character in the underworld, started as small fry.
Odicta had always insisted he was a legitimate businessman. They operated a taxi company and a restaurant.

‘DRUG LORD’

The man tagged by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and by no less than Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa as “the drug lord”, reportedly began as a mere street hooligan.
His sudden transformation from alleged small-time trafficker and “snatcher” to big-time “drug lord” was meteoric, to say the least.
It was when Odicta began to “collaborate” with Merriam Regalado-Porras, who became Mrs. Meriam Odicta, that his name became a byword and his empire ballooned.
Meriam was widow of the notorious gangster Tikboy Porras of Pototan, Iloilo. Porras was murdered reportedly by his former cohorts in a beach resort in Iloilo City in early 80s.
Porras, who also reportedly dabbled as hired killer, was one of the fast-rising illegal drug traffickers in Iloilo province when he was killed, police said.
Police said it was possible that Meriam “inherited” her dead husband’s connections and sources in the illicit deals.

CONVICT

When Odicta was sentenced to life imprisonment for violation of Republic Act 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, he met some of the jailed criminal bigwigs in the New Bilibid Prison, believed to be the source of first-grade metamphetamine chloride or shabu.
Authorities viewed his alleged connections in the New Bilibid Prison mafia plus Meriam’s “well-entrenched” tentacles as “formidable” combinations.
When he was released under a controversial circumstance in the 90’s, Odicta made a name in the underworld as “Dragon”, his nom de guerre in the New Bilibid Prison probably inspired by the huge dragon tattoo on his body.
Dragon was reportedly both feared by his rivals and admired by his cohorts. His connections were so wide and powerful that he became untouchable for a long time, police said.
The Odicta couple were gunned down by unidentified assailants as they arrived via ro-ro in Caticlan, Aklan on August 29.
They came from a meeting with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno in Metro Manila where they reportedly submitted a list containing the “illegal drug trade matrix”, a report denied by the couple’s lawyers.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in CRIME

 

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Dragon stares at death but couldn’t spit fire

“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.

TRAP

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.

EVIDENCE

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.

CORRUPT

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.

TENTACLES

“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).”

alexpvidal.blogspot.com/2016/08/dragon-stares-death-but-couldnt-spit.html

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in CRIME, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

 

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Shabu shipment via courier service

“If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.” Keith Richards

By Alex P. Vidal

We were not surprised by the reported seizure of some P7-million worth of shabu (methamphetamine chloride) stuffed inside 20 pairs of shoes and sandals and shipped via LBC from Luzon to Bacolod last June 9.

The amount of the recovered illegal substances shows a big group is behind the deal, and it must have crippled their operations for this school opening.

If it is about a kilo, the target market could be not only in Bacolod City, but also in other component cities and municipalities in Negros Occidental. If the P7-million worth of shabu was not intercepted, God knows how much damage it would have inflicted on the youths in Negros and how many crimes would it have caused.

This trick by some drug traffickers of using private courier services is not new. We have heard of similar incidents in the past not only in Western Visayas, but also in Metro Manila.

Drugs were also kept inside toys, books, cloths, frames, etcetera. The system, for a while, has worked wonders for the syndicates as some private courier services don’t have special machine detectors to intercept illegal substances hidden in the declared stuffs.

DOOR-TO-DOOR

Drug transactions are also sometimes done via door-to-door; meaning the consignees get the illegal substance directly from the senders through private courier services that are not supposed to be detected by police authorities.

But the arrest of “drug distributor” (that’s what the PDEA calls the suspect) Edgardo Justo, 36, also known as Ray Roman of Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Murcia happened because, sources said, someone privy to the deal had tipped off the PDEA, which was still confirming reports that the syndicate also used other private service couriers in the past.

The rat could be part of the well-entrenched syndicate operating in Region 6 and he must now be working with the PDEA.

Justo was cornered not after receiving the sandals and shoes, but during the buy bust operation that followed later. This means that door-to-door shipment of illegal drugs could have been progressing also in other parts of the country even before Justo was busted.

The shabu bust, the biggest in Western Visayas in recent years, was traced to have originated in Muntinlupa’s New Bilibid Prison, police said.  

DRUG LORDS

If the report is true, this would confirm fears that some of the country’s most notorious drug lords continue to operate even if they are now detained in “Munti”.

And these transactions would not materialize without the backing of some influential characters in police and military. It was reported most recently that these detained drug lords live like kings and untouchables, and they receive special treatment from jail authorities. They could fake sickness and go to hospitals and stay there for an extended period, and hire high-profile prostitutes while in confinement.

It is common knowledge that some of the most active drug lords in Western Visayas also have links with their cohorts in “Munti”. They were able to establish contacts and forge camaraderie with their partners who are now behind bars because they were themselves former inmates in “Munti.”

PDEA Regional Director Paul Ledesma and his men were still trying to extract more information from Justo in a hope to trace his other accomplices.

We wish Director Ledesma luck. 

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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