By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY— A lady mayor in northern Iloilo province was arrested while two of her relatives were killed in a series of raids by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Wednesday.
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, director of Police Regional Office (PRO-6), confirmed that Mayor Ermelita Salcedo of Sara town is now under police custody.
Nerio Salcedo (alias “Ricky), a dismissed police officer and Mayor Salcedo’s stepson, was among those killed. The other fatality was Nixon Salcedo Jr.
Sr. Supt. Marlon Tayaba, director of Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO), explained that Ricky and Nixon were slain after they shot it out with arresting policemen.
Mayor Salcedo is not included in the original search warrants which were going to be enforced by the police team. But she was arrested after police found firearms in the house she shared with her husband, former mayor Neptali “Tali” Salcedo Sr. The former mayor was one of the main subjects of the warrants, but he was not there.
Bulalacao said the Salcedos were allegedly involved in illegal drug trade, gun-for-hire activities, gunrunning (trafficking of contraband firearms), and hiring private armed groups that operate in northern Iloilo province and nearby towns of Capiz province.
Combined elements of PRO-6’s Regional Intelligence Division, PRO-6’s Regional Mobile Force Battalion, 6th Special Action Force Battalion, and IPPO also arrested Noel Salcedo, Nixon Salcedo Sr., Frank George Sanson, and Nestor Arante.
Authorities recovered several firearms, ammunition, suspected shabu, and other drug paraphernalia.
Bulalacao warned political clans in Western Visayas region that they can no longer exert fear and intimidation.
“This is a stern warning against unscrupulous individuals who maintain a hard stance against the law,” Bulalacao emphasized.
In previous public statements, members of the Salcedo political clan dismissed claims of their alleged involvement in criminal activities. They also decried the tag given to Sara town as a “sanctuary” for criminals.