By: Gail T. Momblan
THE linkage is clear: murders committed by motorcycle-riding suspects are related to illegal drug activities.
Senior Superintendent Martin Defensor, Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) chief, believes that solving illegal drug problems in the city will put an end to riding-in-tandem crimes.
“Indi man naton matapna ang riding-in-tandem kay may illegal drug activities man gihapon,” Defensor said.
He said that ICPO conducted successful buy-bust operations amid the recent East Asian Seas Congress on Nov 27 to 30, 2018.
This only proves there is still the existence of illegal drug activities in the city, he said.
Citing intelligence reports, Defensor said emerging drug groups fight for dominance after the deaths of two alleged drug ring leaders in Iloilo – Melvin Odicta Sr. and Richard Prevenido.
“Turf war between emerging drug groups prompts the killings,” he said.
These groups, however, are not as organized as the Odicta and Prevendido groups.
Defensor said that remnants of the two major drug groups transferred to different locations but the members still communicate through mobile phones.
“Ang lately, may nakuha sila information sa presohan pa. Medyo nagdamo ang namonitor namon,” he said.
These groups also use civilians who were never included in the drugs watch list for their illicit transactions.
“Kaya kung mahuli namin, ito’y hindi namin namonitor kasi wala siya sa watch list pero ginagamit nila as peddlers,” he added.
Defensor admitted that they have “limited intelligence” in resolving the killings perpetrated by motorcycle-riding suspects.
Defensor said that he conducts monthly meeting with a focus team composed of investigators handling riding-in-tandem cases but the progress is too little.
He added that the only way to catch the assailants is to determine their operations.
“Unfortunately, itong mga grupong ito medyo mabudlay gid kay pinipili nila ang oras at lugar kung saan sila mag-i-strike. Kami, limited man ang intelligence namon,” he added.
On Nov 24, 2018, Defensor said that he is already feeling the pressure in solving the incidents.
Since September 2018, seven murder incidents perpetrated by motorcycle-riding suspects occurred in Iloilo City.
In fact, “medyo nape-pressure na ako dahil sa wala pang compliance,” he said.
Defensor added they must come up with solid and credible leads to solve the crimes.
But so far, the ICPO has “no good leads.”