After 7 years, ‘drug lord’s’ murder remains unsolved

By Alex P. Vidal

“When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.”—Winston Churchill

WERE they really murdered by the state police, or by their protectors or cohorts?

The question continues to linger seven years since Western Visayas’ alleged drug lord, Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr. alyas “Dragon” and his wife, Merriam, were murdered in Caticlan, Aklan on their way home from Manila to Iloilo.

The assailants have not been identified until now.

Also, some of the main characters identified with the controversial couple have not been seen or heard these past years.

Some of them were believed to have been also “silenced” after the couple’s murder; others have permanently disappeared from Western Visayas and could no longer be traced.

Interestingly, no one from among Dragon’s living lawyers (some of them have also “disappeared” while the most prominent one, Edel Julio Romero, was also murdered) and family has demanded for reopening of the case or for further investigation.

Like in the previous years, not a single relative or associate has come forward to demand “justice” for the sensational double murders that, for a while, sent shockwaves to major drug dealers and their minions in Panay Island and the entire Western Visayas for that matter.

Have they accepted the couple’s bizarre fate in silence without throwing a single punch in the arena of the justice system?


If they believed the couple was innocent and among the most prominent personalities victimized by extra-judicial killing (EJK) or summary execution when the Duterte administration was still on infant stage, they should be making a noise and demanding for justice.

But they didn’t.

Their total silence meant the murders would be forever part of the statistics in the past administration’s brutal campaign against illegal drugs.

It may be recalled that a lone gunman reportedly shot the Odicta couple as they alighted from a roll-on roll-off vessel at around 1:30 a.m. in Caticlan, Aklan on August 28, 2016.

Aside from the unidentified triggerman, several “back up” gunmen were believed to be on board the vessel following the couple since the vessel left the Batangas port.

It was Merriam who was reportedly first fatally hit in the back and believed to have died before being rushed to the hospital.

Dragon, wounded on the leg, reportedly managed to call his lawyer Gualberto Cataluna over mobile phone.

Before being escorted to the hospital, policemen who arrived reportedly handcuffed Dragon.

Dragon was supposed to be brought to a Malay hospital but witnesses, including Cataluna, had claimed policemen handcuffed the alleged rug lord.

Minutes later, the man considered as “the most powerful and well-connected drug lord” in Western Visayas, was dead.

He had bullet wounds in the body and head, it was reported.

Before he died, Dragon witnessed how Merriam was peppered with bullets in the back.


The Odictas were officially declared dead on arrival in a Malay town hospital.

The couple was on the way to Iloilo from Manila where they were reported earlier to have “surrendered” to then Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno.

Some Ilonggos have “credited” former President Rodrigo Duterte and his then PNP chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” De la Rosa for “putting away” a “big fish.”

However, there were those who believed the Odictas were “silenced” by powerful people who have been protecting them and who reportedly “panicked” when they learned the Odictas had submitted a “list” to Sueno.

It was not known if Sueno, who resigned in 2017, gave the list to then President Duterte.

Some of those who protected Dragon were allegedly politicians and police officials.

They haven’t been named until today.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)