The Department of Justice (DoJ) has asked the Supreme Court (SC) for the transfer of cases involving Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog and her brother Reynaldo Jr. from Ozamiz to Metro Manila.
This was the plea made in a letter by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on August 17, citing the political influence that the Parojinogs still maintain in the province.
“I would like to stress that notwithstanding the death of Mayor [Reynaldo] Parojinog, their clout should not be underestimated. The fact that they have been in power in Ozamiz City for so long is a clear indication that they have the capacity to influence, if not threaten the prosecution witnesses, the judges and the prosecutors and subvert the criminal proceedings in Ozamiz City in their favor,” Aguirre pointed out.
He said even judges and prosecutors in the province are hesitant to try the cases for fear for their lives.
“In addition, not only are the judges in Ozamiz City hesitant to try their cases in their sala, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Ozamiz City has likewise expressed concern and fear of threats in the event that they will be tasked to prosecute the cases in the Ozamiz City courts,” Aguirre added.
He pleaded that the cases must be transferred to Metro Manila, particularly the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC). This, Aguirre said, would eliminate the need for additional security personnel for witnesses and prison guards.
The transfer, according to Aguirre, “will deter the accused’s agents from possibly threatening, inflicting harm or influencing the prosecution witnesses.”
Nova is facing cases for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and possession of dangerous drugs before the sala of Judge Edmundo Pintac of the Ozamiz RTC Branch 15.
Reynaldo Jr.’s cases for possession of dangerous drugs, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and illegal possession of explosives, on the other hand, are pending before Judge Salome Dungog of the Ozamiz RTC Branch 35.
Dungog has inhibited from the case, pointing to her compulsory retirement this month.