THE top most-wanted drug lord in Negros Occidental was found dead on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, in the town of Baras in Rizal province.
The alleged drug lord, Michael Divinagracia, was only positively identified late Thursday night after the Baras Municipal Police Station received a phone call coming from the Silay City Police Station.
In a radio interview Friday morning, Police Captain Junard Briones, chief of Baras Municipal Police Station, said Divinagracia is suspected to have been summarily executed.
Initial investigation and post-mortem examination of Divinagracia's remains revealed that he sustained several gunshot wounds to his body. He also showed signs of being choked in the neck using a steel wire.
It is believed that Divinagracia died when he was choked and the gunshots in his body were made to finish him and make sure he was dead.
Witnesses also reported to police that hours prior to being killed, Divinagracia was last spotted with an unidentified man.
Police Colonel Robert Petate, police chief of Silay City in Negros Occidental, said Divinagracia was positively identified based on the driver's license recovered from his remains.
Based on records from the Silay City Police Station, Divinagracia surrendered to the city's police force in 2016 as part of "Oplan: Tokhang," however, the alleged drug lord continued with his illicit activities.
In January of 2018, Divinagracia was linked to the P18-million drug shipment bound for Negros Occidental, which was intercepted at the Dumangas Port in Iloilo by joint operatives from the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo), Iloilo Police Provincial Office, and the Philippine Coast Guard.
The shabu originated somewhere in Metro Manila and was smuggled via the Batangas Port and into Caticlan Port in Aklan prior to being intercepted in the town of Dumangas.
In November of 2019, Divinagracia's name reappeared again after operatives from the Police Regional Office-Western Visayas Regional Drug Enforcement Unit seized an estimated P7.3 million worth of shabu along the South Capitol Road in Bacolod City.
Following the incident, Divinagracia fled Negros Occidental and hid somewhere in the Calabarzon region.
In January 2020, another P3.5 million worth of shabu was also seized in Barangay Mambulac in Silay City.
Following a string of high-value drug confiscations, then-Nocppo director and now retired Police Colonel Romeo Baleros placed a P200,000 bounty on Divinagracia's head. The bounty was later increased to P500,000.
Aside from the illegal drug activities, Divinagracia was also believed to have led a criminal group in Negros Occidental and was linked to several high-level robbery hold-up incidents in the province and Bacolod City.