Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bautista: He’s still in our watch list

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

HE is still in the drug business.
Senior Supt. Norlito Bautista, Iloilo City Police Office (IPCO) director, yesterday said they have never cleared Melvin “Boyet” Odicta of any involvement in the illegal drug trade.
“As far as we are concerned, Odicta is still in our drug watch list,” Bautista told The Guardian yesterday.
Bautista alleged that Odicta’s base of operation is still in Barangay Malipayon, Iloilo City Proper and continues to be active in the illegal drug trade.
In 2003, then ICPO director Policarpio Segubre cleared Odicta’s name after the latter pledged to cease from peddling illegal drugs.
But the ICPO in a recent report said illegal drugs continue to flood at the Iloilo City Proper area, particularly at Barangays Tanza Esperanza and Malipayon
Bautista said he has not seen Odicta’s oath of undertaking or any document that will prove that he has indeed ceased from trafficking illegal drugs in the city.
The recurring problem of illegal drugs in Iloilo City has forced police and local authorities to put up baby police precincts which will focus on anti-drug operations. The first of its kind is Task Force Bakhaw.
Next month, TF Angel will be put up at the area of Barangays Tanza-Esperanza and Malipayon.
Initially, the headquarters of the newest anti-drug task force will be at Tanza-Esperanza barangay hall.
The Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 will provide a platoon of police officers, mostly new recruits, to TF Angel while the ICPO is still searching for its overall commander.
Bautista said Mayor Jerry Treñas and the Iloilo City Anti-Drug Council already gave their blessing to the new task force.
Odicta remains elusive from the media despite efforts to reach his side.
His wedding godfather, Kagawad Erwin “Tong-Tong” Plagata has even advised him to air his side and clear his name.
Word war
Bautista also dispelled insinuations that he is at loggerheads with Plagata, chairman of the committee on police matters.
“I don’t see any reason why Kagawad Plagata and I would figure in a word war. We are closely working together for our policemen,” Bautista said.
Plagata has become critical of several issues involving the ICPO such as the computerization fund which Bautista sought from the city council.
Two weeks ago, Plagata read an anonymous letter before the city council which accused a city cop of involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Plagata even hit the purported bypassing of his committee in the creation anti-drug task forces in the city.
The purported “word war” between Bautista and Plagata was fueled by the latter’s refusal to guest in Budyong Kapehan after learning that he will be sharing the microphone with the ICPO director.
But Bautista said he is in talking terms with Plagata, particularly on programs that could help police personnel.
The ICPO chief credited the doctor-turned-politician for providing free ECG services to the police and the construction of a conference room at the ICPO compound.
“Councilor Plagata has been very supportive of our plans and programs that pass through the city council,” Bautista said.
Interestingly, Bautista saw nothing wrong with Plagata being a godfather to Odicta.
“It doesn’t mean that if you are a maninoy of a suspected drug lord, you are already part of his illicit business. But in the end, only Councilor Plagata can clear the air of any doubts,’ he said. (Published in The Guardian-Western Visayas, November 30, 2005)


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