Lawyer of alleged drug lord Odicta shot dead in Roxas City

Rambo Talabong
Edel Julio Romero served as the lawyer of Melvin Odicta, alleged top drug lord of Iloilo province, until the latter was gunned down in August 2016

MANILA, Philippines – The lawyer of Melvin Odicta, the alleged top Iloilo drug lord who was slain two years ago, was himself gunned down on Friday, September 28, in Barangay Culasi in Roxas City, Capiz.

According to the police report, Edel Julio Romero was killed at around 12:40 pm while he was having lunch with his common-law wife Iris Tan, just before boarding a roro boat back to Manila, where he was based.

A still-unidentified gunman shot him at the back of his head and escaped through a black Nissan SUV without a plate number toward an unkown direction. Police said the gunman had two back-ups standing nearby for the ambush.

Romero was brought to the Roxas Memorial Provincial hospital for treatment by quick responders, but he was declared dead at around 1:15 pm.

Police have yet to identify the motive behind the killing.

Romero was the lawyer for alleged drug lord Melvin Odicta until Odicta was killed with his wife Merriam in August 2016.

Romero is not the first lawyer of an alleged drug lord to be gunned down under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte. In February 2018, the lawyer of suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, Jonah John Ungab, was killed in an ambush in Cebu City. –


Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.