ILOILO CITY, Philippines — (UPDATE – 12:03 p.m.) The man alleged to be the new drug kingpin of Western Visayas was shot dead in what police claimed was a shootout in Iloilo City Friday night.
A composite team from the Iloilo Provincial Police Office, the Iloilo City Police Office and the intelligence division of the regional police was supposed to serve a warrant of arrest on Richard Prevendido, alias “Buang,” at his residence in Landheights Subdivision, Barangay Balabago in Jaro district around 8 p.m.
Police said Prevendido, who had a P1.1-million bounty on his head, became the region’s top drug distributor following the death last year of Melvin Odicta, who was gunned down with his wife Meriam at the Caticlan port in Aklan province on their way home to Iloilo after giving themselves up to then Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno.
Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, Iloilo City police chief, who was with the arresting team, said Prevendido and his nephew Jason, who was also killed, were the first to open fire.
“Naka-ready na sila pagpasok pa lang ng tropa (They were ready as the team was entering),” he said.
An AK-47 assault rifle and two .45 caliber pistols were seized by police.
In a related development, News5’s Gem Avanceña reported that the Philippine National Police has cancelled the reassignment of controversial Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to Iloilo City, whose mayor, Jed Mabilog, President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly and openly accused of being a drug protector.
Espenido has gained notoriety after Mayors Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte and Reynaldo Parojinog of Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental were killed during his watch as police chief.
His assignment to Iloilo, announced publicly by Duterte, gave rise to fears about Mabilog’s fate and angered residents of the city the President has also claimed to be the most “shabulized” in the country.
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