Philippine Daily Inquirer

ARMMcop charged in plot to kill Iloilo policeman linked to drugs

Officer on leave tagged as gunman of group in vigilante-style assassinat­ion try

- By Nestor P. Burgos Jr. @nestorburg­osINQ

ILOILO CITY— Police here have filed a frustrated murder complaint against a policeman on leave who was tagged as the gunman in a botched assassinat­ion of another policeman accused of involvemen­t in illegal drugs.

PO2 Melvin Mocorro has been placed under hospital arrest and is heavily guarded at Iloilo Mission Hospital where he is confined with bullet wounds in the chest and leg.

Fired back

He was suspected to be one of three motorcycle-riding gunmen who shot PO1 Dorben Acap on June 26 in the village of Dulonan in Arevalo District here, according to Senior Insp. Mary Grace Borio, Arevalo police station chief.

Acap, who was driving his Honda sedan, was wounded in the shoulder but managed to fire back at the assailants, hitting one of them believed to be Mocorro.

Acap was brought to The Medical City hospital in Molo District and later identified Mocorro through photograph­s as the gunman.

Acap, assigned to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit at Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City, was among several policemen being investigat­ed for alleged involvemen­t in illegal drugs, an allegation that he has repeatedly denied.

Policemen from the Arevalo District police station were alerted when Western Visayas Medical Center reported that a man with bullet wounds was brought to the hospital shortly after the attack on Acap.

Wrong place

Investigat­ors said Mocorro told hospital personnel and policemen, who initially investigat­ed him, that he was shot in the village of Pakiad in Oton town, a few kilometers from where Acap was shot.

But the Oton police station issued a certificat­e that no shooting was reported in the town that day and time, according to Borio.

She said footage from security cameras at the crime scene showed the gunman wearing the same clothes worn by Mocorro when he was brought to the hospital.

Investigat­ors were still waiting for blood tests taken on Mocorro and those at the crime scene.

“He has been identified by the victim and we have (pieces) of circumstan­tial evidence,” Borio told Inquirer.

Mocorro refused to issue further statements to investigat­ors.


Borio said investigat­ors had confirmed that Mocorro is currently assigned to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao( AR MM) police office but went on leave fromJune 15 to 30.

Investigat­ors were still determinin­g why Moccoro, who was previously assigned to Western Visayas, was in Iloilo.

The attack on Acap came four days after unidentifi­ed gunmen shot dead village chief Remia Prevendido-Gregori in a family-owned resort in San Joaquin town in Iloilo.

Gregori, who was accused of involvemen­t in illegal drugs, was the elder sister of Richard Prevendido, one of the alleged drug lords in Western Visayas. Policemen shot dead Prevendido and a son in a police operation in Iloilo City on Sept. 1 last year.

Last year, a Reuters report quoted two senior police officers as alleging that most killings of drugs suspects attributed to vigilantes were backed or carried out by policemenw­ho were paid for the job.

The report and claims of the police officers (who were not identified in the report) were repeatedly denied by officials of the Philippine National Police.

In its annual report issued in January this year, the nongovernm­ent human rights organizati­on Human Rights Watch said the antidrug campaign of the Duterte administra­tion has resulted in more than 12,000 deaths.

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