BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
An alleged leader of a drug group in Negros Occidental, with a reward of P500,000 for his arrest, was found dead May 19 in Rizal province, Lt. Col. Joem Malong, Western Visayas police regional spokesperson, said yesterday.
Malong said that Michael Vincent Divinagracia, a High Value Individual drug personality and leader of the Divinagracia drug group, was identified through a driver’s license recovered from the body, based on the report relayed to them by Lt. Col. Robert Petate, who is the Silay City police officer-in-charge.
The bodies of Divinagracia, who surrendered to the Silay police during its Tokhang campaign in 2016, and of an unidentified person, who was wrapped in a pink blanket, were discovered along Km 45 Marilaque highway in Brgy. Pinugay, Baras town of Rizal.
The Baras Police Station, in a report furnished to the Police Regional Office 6, said that one of the victims had tattoos on its body and arms.
Malong said that the Silay police is now coordinating with the family of Divinagracia in Silay for further affirmation of the identity of the body.
Police records show that Divinagracia, then a drug pusher, was arrested in 2017 for violation of Section 11 of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. A year later, he was released from jail, after posting P500,000 in bail, and went to Manila where he had been staying, Malong said.
But Divinagracia occasionally went home to Silay to facilitate the delivery of shabu, she said, adding that he had reportedly been supplying five to 10 kilos of shabu a week in Negros Occidental.
The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, then under the leadership of Col. Romeo Baleros, offered a P200,000 reward for the arrest of Divinagracia.
Silay City Mayor Mark Golez added P300,000 to the bounty.
Divinagracia’s drug ring is among the six operating in Negros Occidental, the police said. Malong said the death of Divinagracia will have a big impact on the reduction of illegal drugs, not only in Negros Occidental, but also in Dumaguete City and Cebu, where the drug group is also operating.*