Duterte tells Parojinogs of Ozamiz: Give up more arms, contraband
DAVAO CITY – Give up more.
This is the main message of President Duterte to Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and his cohorts, according to Senior Supt. Edgar Daniel, Misamis Occidental provincial police director.
“The PNP (Philippine National Police) chief (Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa) and the President do not believe the guns they turned over were all that they have,” Daniel explained.
Parojinog, along with Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog, his daughter, and his younger brother, Ozamiz City Councilor Ricardo Parojinog, turned over to the police a horde of 20 firearms in the middle of August, in compliance with the PNP’s directive.
Their firearm licenses were revoked by the PNP after Mr. Duterte named them as among the politicians with links to the narcotics trade.
The National Police Commission (Napolcom) also recalled Parojinog’s privilege, as local chief executive, of choosing Ozamiz City’s police chief.
“Our intelligence operatives are reporting that they (Parojinogs) have more (firearms),” Daniel said.
“They cannot hide the truth from the President. He has all the means to gather even the slightest detail (about them and their activities),” he added.
Daniel said Sunday’s simultaneous raids by combined forces of the police, the Philippine Army and anti-narcotics agents on 13 of 16 houses “is just the start.”
The raids were done on the force of search warrants issued by a regional trial court in Manila.
It was the first time that a law enforcement operation of such scale happened in Ozamiz City, which gained notoriety for being the seat of the Kuratong Baleleng anti-communist vigilante that had turned into a criminal syndicate.
It was also among the first few drives directed against alleged narco-politicians whose names Mr. Duterte made public early this month.
The 13 individuals whose houses were raided were not around when law enforcers served the warrants. Daniel said the raids on the houses of Reynaldo Sr., Nova Princess and Ricardo Parojinog were put on hold after the police learned that the Parojinogs already had advanced information on the raids. Daniel added the fact that the Parojinogs held vigils at their own houses hours before the raids indicated somebody tipped them off on the police operation. At the city mayor’s residence in Barangay San Roque, the vigil was attended by leaders from various barangays, barangay health workers, religious groups, and even local media practitioners.
The PNP is now investigating what was apparently an intelligence leakage to the Parojinogs. The entire Ozamiz City police force has been replaced due to the information leak.
Daniel vowed to pursue the drive further “until the subjects submit themselves to authorities.”
“They (Parojinogs) know what to do to stop these operations … (On this) the President is their enemy,” Daniel pointed out.
Intelligence sources said 10 of the 16 individuals whose houses were ordered searched were either affiliated with or members of the Parojinog family. They are the following:
* Reynaldo Sr., the family patriarch: He is on his fifth term as mayor of the city. He entered politics in 1997 as village chair of Barangay San Roque and went on to lead the Liga ng mga Barangay which made him ex-officio city councilor. He used this position to build a platform for a successful mayoral run in 2001. He had an unsuccessful run for a congress seas in the House of Representatives in 2010.
* Ricardo, younger brother of Reynaldo: He was elected city councilor last May after bowing out of a three-term stint as provincial board member.
* Nova Princess, daughter of Reynaldo Sr.: She was reelected vice mayor last May. She entered politics as city councilor in 2007, then mayor in 2010. She slid down to accommodate her father’s comeback in 2013.
* Artemio Salas, married to Reynaldo Sr.’s younger sister Daisy who, in turn, is the village chair of Barangay Santa Cruz and ex-officio city councilor representing the Liga ng mga Barangay.
* Rey Parojinog, relative of Reynaldo Sr. and Ricardo.
* Marlon Parojinog, alias Ailon, relative of Reynaldo Sr. and Ricardo. He is currently councilman of Barangay Cogon.
* Ted Conde, married to a daughter of the late Renato Parojinog, brother of Reynaldo and Ricardo: Renato was serving a term as provincial board member since 2001 when he was ambushed in Manila in February 2002. Back then, authorities had tagged him to have replaced his late father Octavio Sr. as the kingpin of the Kuratong Baleleng group.
* Manuel Francisco, married to city councilor Rizalina Ozamiz Francisco, younger sister of Reynaldo and Ricardo’s late mother Rosalinda.
* Brendon Francisco, nephew of Manuel. He is currently village chair of Barangay Tinago.
* Edgar Echavez, the former husband of Nova Princess. He is currently village chair of Barangay San Antonio.
Of the 10, the houses of Artemio Salas and Rey and Marlon Parojinog yielded illegal items, based on the inventory of evidence prepared by the police.
Seized from the Salas home were two hand grenades. Marlon’s house yielded a horde of cash amounting to P750,000, a sachet of a substance believed to be shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), and 25 video karera machines, while a hand grenade was recovered from Rey’s house.
No cases have yet been filed against any of the Parojinogs or their associates, whether related to the result of Sunday’s raids or to Mr. Duterte’s linking them to the narcotics trade in the country.
However, both Reynaldo and Nova Princess are facing graft charges in relation to an allegedly rigged bidding for the construction of the city’s gymnasium using funds from the national government. The Office of the Ombudsman recommended the filing of the charges last May. (With a report from Ryan D. Rosauro, Inquirer Mindanao) SFM
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