ILOILO City – Mayor Ermelita Salcedo of Sara, Iloilo questioned the procedure the police followed during the search of her house Wednesday last week. She said the officers treated them harshly, destroyed their security cameras and took some of their personal items.
The local chief executive also clarified that she was not arrested during the raid but merely “invited” to come with the police after questioning the search.
The raid of their house in Barangay Poblacion Ilawod, Sara led to the death of her stepson Nerio “Ricky” Salcedo and grandson Nixon Salcedo Jr. Police said the two put up a fight so the officers shot them.
Mayor Salcedo’s husband, former mayor Neptali, was the subject of the search but was not around at the time. His whereabouts remained unknown as of this writing.
The mayor cast doubt on the regularity of the search. She said the police should have let the dwellers read the search warrant first before letting themselves in.
But the officers barged into their house, destroying their door, made them drop to the ground face-down and tied them up before letting them read the contents of the search warrant, Mayor Salcedo claimed.
“Ang akon ginapangayo tani nga ara lang sa insakto nga proseso, nga ipakita anay ang search warrant bag-o sudlon, indi nga bungkalon gid ang puerta,” she told the press at the Iloilo provincial capitol on Bonifacio Drive here.
Personnel of the Iloilo Police Provincial, Iloilo City Police Office, Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office 6, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group conducted the raid.
They destroyed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, too. Her mobile phone was taken while her children lost an undetermined amount of cash and pieces of jewelry, the mayor further claimed.
She said she spoke to Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, provincial police director, and asked for the return of her children’s valuables.
“Ang tanan namon nga CCTV wala na, guba na, ang amon signal (antenna) sa TV nadalasa pa. Ang sa among CCTV nabuklas tanan, pati amon mga camera as in guba gid tanan,” Mayor Salcedo lamented. “Tani indi na maliwat sa iban.”
She said they were still mourning the death of Nerio and Nixon and have not yet decided whether or not they would press charges against the police.
“Sa subong indi pa ako kahambal [kon mapasaka kami kaso],” she told reporters. “Ma-istorya pa kami nga pamilya kay daw wala pa ako na ano … lain pa pamatyag ko.”
‘INVITED, NOT ARRESTED’
Meanwhile Mayor Salcedo stressed that the firearms seized from their house were licensed and they had complete documents proving their legal ownership of the weapons.
“Ligal man gid ang amon nga armas, may ara man gid mga [dokumento],” she said, but the police insisted on taking the weapons as they had yet to verify if the documents were genuine.
“Siling ko, ‘Ngaa dal-on ninyo kay kumpleto man ina?’” the mayor said.
That was when the operatives invited her to the Police Regional Office 6.
Among those recovered during the raid were an M14 rifle, M16 rifle, Ultimax 100 311 rifle, 12-gauge shotgun, AK47 rifle, three .45 pistols, and assorted bullets.
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, regional police director, had said the mayor failed to present pertinent documents during the search.
Mayor Salcedo emphasized that she was not arrested, as what has been reported.
“Hambal nila sa akon gin-invite ako tungod nga dal-on nila ang unit kay naghambal ako ‘ngaa dal-on ang unit kay kumpleto man sa papeles,’ pero hambal nila i-check kon genuine gid ang license,” she explained.
‘TALI HATES DRUGS’
Moreover the mayor defended her husband from claims that he was involved in the drug trade and other illegal activities.
Neptali despises illegal drugs and the townsfolk in Sara can attest to this, she said.
“Kamo mismo, kabalo man kamo sang background ni Tali,” the mayor told reporters. “Amo gid na ang pinaka-kontra niya sa tanan, ang parte sa drugs.”
Whoever in their family got involved in the drug trade made that decision for themselves, she stressed.
She said they have always warned their relatives that dealing with illegal substances will get them in trouble with the authorities.
Mayor Salcedo said she does not know where her husband is.
They were last in touch on Oct. 16 – a day before the raid. Neptali told her he would attend to something important but did not say where, she said./PN