First of all, a story so audacious, so astounding, that I just had to file it in my “Only in the Philippines” category. “Broken Copier Excuse Frees Slain Drug Lord’s In-Laws” seems like a cheap work of fiction. However, even more troubling is that it’s true.
Released from a mandatory 36-hour detention, were in-laws of slain alleged drug lord Melvin “Dragon” Odicta Sr.
The in-laws were related to the “Dragon’s” asawa, Meriam.
The PDEA-6 operatives allegedly tried to file an inquest case within the 36-hour period of detention but failed.
The Daily Guardian reported that the three brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law were let go thanks to a “broken” photocopying machine and printer of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 6 (PDEA-6).
Consequently, the suspects’ detention period apparently lapsed on early Friday evening. Their arrest took place the morning of Dec. 13 in Jaro, Iloilo City.
Look, even if I tried, I couldn’t make up crap like this.
Chief has Doubts
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, confirmed that PDEA ordered the release of the alleged lawbreakers. Set free were brothers Arnulfo Regalado, Cyril Regalado, 51, and Leo Regalado, 48, and Arnulfo’s wife, Nilda.
The region’s top cop said he had doubts over the Margate’s alibi.
A broken photocopying machine and printer was the reason for the delayed filing of the case? C’mon.
Bulalacao admitted that he found Margate’s excuse as too flimsy.
Had Margate informed them of their constraints on photocopying machine and printer, Bulalacao said they could have offered help.
[Editor’s Note: If not, the PDEA could have gone over to a nearby sari-sari store and used their copier.]
On Dec. 13 in Jaro, Iloilo City. PDEA AND PNP agents raided the four suspects’ house. It appeared that PDEA-6 requested the assistance of the PNP Regional Drug Enforcement Unit 6 (RDEU-6). Hence, the PDEA needed help because they could not identify their targets.
However, here’s the rub: Only PDEA operatives went inside the Regalados’ house while the PNP personnel waited outside.
“So I have been having questions about what really happened. This should have been an intelligence driven operation. They bungled the case. That’s my impression,” Bulalacao said.
Recovered from the alleged drug dealers were the following items:
9 sachets of suspected shabu,
assorted drug paraphernalia,
a caliber .45 pistol,
a 12-gauge shotgun,
And a knife.
Furthermore, estimated at P380,000, 7,600 US dollars, was the street value of the confiscated drugs.
Authorities claimed that the four suspects were dealing illegal drugs in the heydays of the Odicta couple.
Even after the Odictas’ assassination, the in-laws continued their operations.
PDEA Director Fired
Emerson Margate was the regional director of PDEA-6 who issued the release. Most noteworthy, Margate has since been fired, according to a report in the Panay News.
Screenshot from The Daily Guardian
Sacked, also, effective Dec. 16, were eight PDEA personnel.
Transferred to the PDEA national office were Director Margate and the eight others. Consequently, they are undergoing investigation, said PDEA spokesperson David Garcia.
Above all, the probe would determine the administrative charges to be filed against them, said Garcia.
Margate is a former Magdalo member who took part in the Oakwood mutiny.
More than 300 junior officers and enlisted men took over the Oakwood Premier in the Ayala Center, Makati City on July 27, 2003. Navy Ltsg. Antonio Trillanes IV, now a Filipino senator, led the attempted coup against the government.