Raid on Parojinog office, inn yields firearms cache
PAGADIAN CITY — Police seized a cache of firearms and illegal drugs during raids on two properties of fugitive Ozamiz City Councilor Ricardo “Ardot” Parojinog and a farm owned by his aide on Sunday night, police said on Tuesday.
Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, Ozamiz police chief, said the raid on the Parojinog-owned Dottie’s Inn and on the office of MROP Security Agency at Barangay Banadero came after a tip that guns and ammunition were being kept in these establishments, which had been shut down following last year’s police operations in Ozamiz City that killed Parojinog’s older brother, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, and 11 others.
Policemen were serving arrest warrants on drug-related charges against the mayor in July last year when the gunfight erupted.
President Rodrigo Duterte had offered a P5-million reward for Councilor Parojinog’s arrest, dead or alive, following the death of the Ozamiz mayor.
The councilor was also placed on the Bureau of Immigration’s watch list.
Recovered during the raid were two antitank rockets, two rocket-propelled grenades, three rifle grenades, 15 12-gauge shotguns, 18 9mm guns, eight .38-caliber revolvers, an M16 rifle, and bullets and magazines for these firearms.
Another raid on a farm owned by Ian Dionson, a known aide of Parojinog, yielded explosives and at least 250 grams of suspected “shabu” (crystal meth).
Dionson, however, was not around during the raid. The farm’s caretaker, Elmer Prenio, was taken in for questioning.
Espenido said the raiding team did not find Parojinog, but they arrested the properties’ caretaker. Parojinog has been on the run since his brother was killed in Ozamiz last year.
On April 21, the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Northern Mindanao raided the compound of Cherry Barros, chair of Barangay Kinawe in Libona town, Bukidnon province, after receiving reports that Parojinog was hiding there.
A firefight ensued after armed men inside the compound fired on the government operatives. Three soldiers were wounded.
Barros and 18 others were arrested and a number of firearms and explosives were seized during that raid. But Barros’ husband, Tarcisio, and another man, who authorities believed to be Parojinog, escaped.
“Our operatives are still in pursuit of the suspects,” said SPO4 Noel Oclarit, chief investigator of CIDG Northern Mindanao.
He said charges of frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms and explosives had been filed against Barros and the other suspects.
Espenido said Parojinog had long left Ozamiz and entrusted his firearms to his aides.
“We hope to find more [firearms] in the coming days,” he said.
An Ozamiz City official, who asked not to be identified due to security concerns, said he heard authorities say that Parojinog had left Misamis Occidental province and was probably hiding in the Lanao provinces.
“He has many hosts, that’s why the police were having difficulty finding him,” the source said. —Leah Agonoy and Jigger Jerusalem
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