Another ‘abducted’ man ends up as drug sting target

Was Anthony William Landicho, 36, a resident of Poblacion, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras arrested in a legitimate drug buy-bust or a victim shenanigan? (Photo courtesy of Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Another case of an alleged abduction ended in a police anti-narcotics operation in Iloilo City on March 3, 2020.

The victim-turned-suspect was identified as Anthony William Landicho, 36, a resident of Poblacion, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras.

According to Landicho’s relatives, he was the person who was seen in a viral video being forced by men into a white Asian utility vehicle AUV near University of Iloilo-PHINMA in Rizal Street, City Proper, Iloilo City around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Before the alleged abduction, a certain Tam claimed men on board the same vehicle also tried to abduct him a few meters away from where Landicho was snatched.

Nothing was heard from Landicho until three hours later when a suspected drug peddler was arrested in a buy-bust operation at Sta. Filomena, Arevalo, Iloilo City.

A subsequent report stated that Landicho yielded the P3,000 marked money and two sachets of suspected shabu with a street value of P48,000.

But what happened between the hours that Landicho was supposedly abducted and his supposed arrest for an illegal drugs offense?

His relatives also questioned what happened to the P20,000 cash that Landicho possessed before his “arrest.”

Landicho’s aunt claimed that he was in Iloilo City to process the papers for his father’s funeral wake and to buy some groceries.

Landicho’s father died in January in Saudi Arabia but his body remains in the Middle Eastern country.

After the supposed buy-bust operation, the P20,000 cash was gone and so were his grocery items.

The only items that were turned over to the family were P3 in coins, a shoulder bag, and the documents.

Landicho’s family also feared that he may have been manhandled.

His aunt claimed that Landicho was still trembling in fear when they visited him at the police station. He also complained of pain in his abdomen.

The family claimed they are contemplating to file a case against the police.

Meanwhile, Major Francisco Paguia, Iloilo City Police Station 1 commander, said they have yet to start their formal investigation because no one went to their office to lodge a complaint.

He dispatched investigators to ask several security guards in the area where Landicho was abducted.

Police Colonel Eric Dampal, Iloilo City police office, said they would investigate to ascertain who are the personalities involved in the alleged abduction.



Last month, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), who arrived from Qatar on February 6, claimed that he and his 17-year-old girlfriend Aira (not her real name) were also abducted by men on board a pick-up at Molo Plaza around 9 a.m. of Feb. 12.

Joemel Sabio said his girlfriend was made to board another vehicle.

The occupant then declared that they were conducting a buy bust operation, Sabio narrated.

In between fists and elbows from his companions inside the car, Sabio was allegedly forced to name his source of illegal drugs. The alleged manhandling happened in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

On their way to a “kandingan” restaurant in San Miguel town, Sabio saw a chance to jump off the vehicle. He then headed home, amid apprehensions for his girlfriend’s fate.

But Sabio’s fears about Aira’s whereabouts were answered after the Iloilo Police Provincial Office – Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (IPPO-PDEU) confirmed that she was arrested in a buy-bust operation at Barangay Pandac, Pavia on the same day.

Official reports indicated that the police nabbed the two suspects – Aira and Sabio, both residents of Barangay Hibao-an, Mandurriao.

While Aira was arrested, Sabio was labeled as at-large.

Police Major Jonathan Pinuela, then IPPO-PDEU chief, vehemently denied Sabio’s claims.

“Those are lies and exaggerations. He’s trying to destroy us through trial by publicity,” he said.



The RDEU also hogged the limelight after they were accused of taking valuables unrelated to an anti-narcotics operation on Dec. 4, 2019.

The complainant, a grade school teacher, was not the anti-drugs operation’s target but her neighbor, Romeo Tribunal.

Arlene Bolivar Braga alleged that RDEU personnel went to her house and scoured the area.

At that time, Braga was not around but her nine-year old child and a 19-year-old relative were inside the house.

After the team left, a wristwatch, a jewelry box containing undetermined jewelry, and the child’s piggy bank went missing.

In 2018, seven RDEU members were relieved from their post following the controversial raid on the house owned by the relatives of slain suspected Western Visayas drug lord Melvin Odicta Sr.

The seven police officers joined members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-6 when the latter led an anti-drug raid on the Regalados’ abode at Barangay Sambag, Jaro, Iloilo City on Dec. 13.

The Regalado matriarch Nilda accused the raiding team of stealing their valuables, which led to the relief of the RDEU cops.

The Regalados presented security camera footages inside their house indicating that the cops took jewelries and other pricey personal belongings.

At around 11:30 a.m. of Dec. 19, 2018, Candelaria Regalado reported to Jaro Police Station that close to P2.5 million of items went missing from their house.

She later filed administrative and criminal charges against eight members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and 6 RDEU personnel.

Following the accusations, retired Police Brigadier General John Bulalacao, then Western Visayas police chief, ordered their relief claiming that police units, such as RDEU, should be clean and credible.