Espenido stands by legitimacy of police operations vs Parojinogs
MANILA, Philippines — Ozamiz City Police Major Jovie Espenido stood by the legitimacy of the police operations conducted against the Parojinog clan that led to the death of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others.
Espenido, who led simultaneous raids on the properties of the Parojinog family in July 2017, testified against Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echaves before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 228 on Thursday.
Parojinog-Echaves is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame after police seized firearms and drugs from her residence during the said operations.
“We just gave them information on the legal procedure for implementing the search warrant. We stand by the legitimacy of those operations,” Espenido told reporters in Tagalog after the court hearing.
Lawmakers have questioned the police operations against the Parojinog family as they drew a parallel with another police raid that led to the death of drug-linked Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
Espenido was the police chief of Albuera town in Leyte in 2016 when he led the dismantling of the illegal drug operations of the region’s biggest drug syndicate ran by Espinosa’s son, Kerwin.
The police officer ran after the members of the drug group, which prompted the mayor to surrender to the police.
Espinosa was killed at the Leyte subprovincial jail in Baybay City in November 2016 in a reported a shootout with police officers.
Parojinogs’ meeting with Espenido
According to Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navero, Espenido gave “straightforward” answers on the witness stand.
“His (Espenido) answers were very straightforward, he narrated the chronology of the implementation of the warrant, he narrated the firefight that happened when the security people of Mayor Parojinog and Vice Mayor Parojinog…met them with gunfire when they were about to serve the search warrant,” Navera said.
“He identified Vice Mayor Parojinog in open court, he identified the photographs showing that the meeting between them happened before the implementation of the warrant,” he added.
Navera noted that Espenido asked the Parojinogs to “surrender” during the said meeting before the implementation of the search warrant.
“He (Espenido) met with the Parojinogs, he told them to surrender, but they never surrendered,” he said, adding that the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) validated the information.
When the police seized the illegal drugs and unlicensed firearms, he said the Parojinogs resited violently, rather than surrender.
“That’s the narration of Espenido,” he said. /ee
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