Duterte: Suspected drug lord Odicta 'salvaged'

DRUG SUSPECTS. Family members and friends follow hearses carrying the bodies of Melvin and Merriam Odicta during their funeral in Iloilo City in the central Philippines on September 11, 2016.

Photo by Tara Yap/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, September 17, said a suspected drug lord was a victim of "salvage," a Filipino term for summary executions.

Duterte mentioned only the surname of the alleged salvage victim, "Odicta," in apparent reference to Iloilo businessman Melvin "Boyet" Odicta Sr, who was killed along with his wife on August 29.

In a speech before the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Isabela, the President said in his usual deadpan style that the Odictas were "perhaps" salvaged by a member of the Philippine Army.

"Si Odicta sinalvage. Siguro baka mga Army 'yon. Kasi harap-harapan. Army harap-harapan e. Police, takbo man kaagad," Duterte said, apparently joking.

(Odicta was salvaged. Perhaps that was by the Army. Because they did it face to face. The police would run immediately.)

Odicta and his wife, Merriam, were shot while disembarking from a passenger ship in Barangay Caticlan, Malay, Aklan, on August 29. (READ: War on drugs: Who are the Odictas of Iloilo?

The gunman was unidentified.

On the day the suspected drug lord was killed, Duterte explained that Odicta "was really being hunted."

Sought for comment about the Odicta slay, Duterte said on August 29: "That is not my problem. He is wanted, and he is the number one drug lord."

The Odictas died barely a week after they presented themselves to Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno in Camp Crame. Melvin executed a sworn statement before the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group but denied that he was a drug lord.

Mayor a 'high-value target'

Duterte brought up the Odicta slay as the Chief Executive is set to reveal a new and final list of alleged drug pushers and drug lords. 

The new list supposedly contains around 1,000 names, or 6 times longer than his previous roster of 158 drug personalities. 

Browsing a list of drug personalities on Saturday, Duterte cited at least two names – "Mayor Reynaldo Flores" and "General Loot."

The names "Flores" and "Loot" had been included in Duterte’s initial list of 158 drug personalities.

Flores is the mayor of Naguilian in La Union, while Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loo of Cebu t is a retired general.

Duterte described Flores on Saturday as a "high-value target."

On Loot, Duterte said: "Region 1, nandiyan 'yang pangalan niya. Region 2, nandoon 'yung pangalan niya. Region 4, nandoon (In Region 1, his name is there. In Region 2, it is also there. Region 4, it is there)."

The President also brought up the involvement of unnamed governors, congressmen, mayors, vice mayors, and barangay captains. 

Duterte told the Army: "Kaya sabi ko, if it would outlast me, kung nawala ako bigla, ang hilingin ko lang sa inyo, lahat kayo…see to it that this country will not take a spin, kasi ito, the whole of the Philippines ang tinamaan."

(That’s why I say, if it would outlast me, if I am suddenly gone, my only request from all of you is…see to it that this country will not take a spin, because here, the whole of the Philippines is affected.) – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.