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Top Iloilo drug lord killed in shootout

By AARON B. RECUENCO, With a report from Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Operatives of the Iloilo City Police were able to neutralize the region’s top drug lord during an encounter Friday night

Initial report from the PNP said members of the Iloilo City Police were serving a search warrant to Richard ‘Buang’ Prevendido when they were met with a volley of gunfire from the suspect while inside his supposed hideout at Landheights Subdivision in Balabago Village.

Prevendido’s companion Jason who is said to be the suspect’s son was also killed during the encounter.

With a 1-million reward for his arrest, Prevendido has been tagged by the PNP as a national target apart from being a high-value target by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The PNP has been monitoring the activities of three more top drug personalities said to be responsible for the proliferation of illegal drugs in the Western Visayas region.

Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said they are continuously intensifying the intelligence-gathering against the three top drug distributors in the area, two of them he only identified as the Bolivar Group and Yang Group.

“We are continuously monitoring them to determine if they are still in the illegal drugs business,” said Dela Rosa.

Prevendido has been touted as the successor of the Odicta couple Melvin and Meriam who were killed while on their way home after trying to clear their name at Camp Crame.

Dela Rosa, however, said that they see no connection between Prevendido and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog who is being tagged as protector of illegal drugs syndicate in Western Visayas.

“We cannot establish the connection between the two,” said Dela Rosa.

What was established, according to Dela Rosa, is the relationship between the Odictas and Mabilog, with the mayor allegedly protecting the former.

Malacañang, in a statement, said the police are now investigating the incident and that they will provide more details upon availability.

“The incident shows the enormous risk our police officers face each time warrants are implemented against high-value targets,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella’s statement read.