ILOILO CITY (3rd UPDATE) — The suspected top drug lord in Iloilo City and his son were killed in a police operation in Barangay Balabago, Jaro, Friday after allegedly shooting at arresting officers.
Police Senior Supt. Marlon Tayaba, acting director of the Iloilo Provincial Police, identified the fatalities as Richard Prevendido and his son Jayson. Other reports identified the second fatality as his nephew.
"Sa sinamang-palad, lumaban po itong dalawa at sila po ay napatay," Tayaba told DZMM Saturday morning.
Tayaba said the elder Prevendido was a high-value target at the national level and was the number 1 most wanted in Region 6.
"No. 1 drug lord sa Region 6 sa Western Visayas and may mga connections din ito sa Metro Manila and other regions. Involved sa ilegal na droga, almost buong Western Visayas ang pinag-ooperatean niya. Ito po 'yung findings namin sa investigations na kinonduct namin way, way before," said Tayaba.
He said Prevendido opened fire as soon as police, who were armed with arrest and search warrants, opened the door to his house.
"Pagbukas namin ng pintuan, nagsimula na ang putukan. Binaril niya kami kaagad. I believe na nakaputok siya," he said.
"Matagal na surveillance 'to. Marami kaming pinasok na lugar. Continuous ang operation natin sa illegal drugs, tinatanong namin ang mga subject. Nagkaroon lang kami ng breakthrough dahil sa series of investigations," he added.
The suspects were the only people in the alleged safehouse when they conducted the operation, he said.
"Wala po silang tauhan na kasama. Dalawa lang sila sa bahay kasi nga po nagtatago na po sila, pero marami ang sumusuporta sa kanila kaya nahirapan ang kapulisan po natin at iba pang law enforcement agencies sa pag-trackdown sa kanila," he stressed.
An AK-47 and three handguns, as well as around 10 grams of suspected shabu, weighing scales, mobile phones and laptops police believe were used for drug transactions, were recovered from the scene.
Malacañang meanwhile said Prevendido's killing shows risks policemen face against high-value targets.
"The incident shows the enormous risk our police officers face each time warrants are implemented against high-value targets," Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement Saturday.
As of this posting, crime scene investigators were still processing the area.
"We believe na mayroon pa pong drogang itinatago doon," Tayaba said.
Tayaba called the operation a success not only for regional police but the entire police organization.
“Our regional director has given us full mandate to conduct operations against illegal drugs, to get Prevendido at all costs, the number one most wanted person and drug lord in the region," Tayaba said. -- Reports from Zeny Quilantang, ABS-CBN News, and DZMM