POLICEMEN in Ozamiz City seized P112 million worth of drugs believed to have been hidden by the Parojinog family after the killing of former mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Jr. this year.
The drugs were confiscated during a series of operations conducted by the police on Wednesday in Misamis Occidental.
Inspector Jovie Espenido, Ozamiz City police chief, said the illegal drugs were “old” and must have come from the stash hidden by the Parojinog family.
“That was an old supply. When I went to Ozamiz, they hid it. They only brought it out now that they are looking for money considering their father is dead,” he said in a radio interview.
Espenido said some P32 million worth of drugs were confiscated from three suspects linked to the Parojinog family in Ozamiz City on Tuesday.
He identified the suspects as Butch Merino, Melden Rabanes, and Roselyn Walohan.
A firearm and two magazines were also seized from Merino.
According to the police, Rabanes is a first cousin of Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog while Merino was a former driver of the vice mayor.
In a follow-up operation, about 10 kilos of shabu worth P80 million were recovered from Melodina and Gaudencio Malingin, and Michelle Gumapac. The Malingins were said to be the parents of Merino.
Charges of illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs were filed against the drug suspects.
On July 30, 2016, Reynaldo Parojinog, his wife Susan, and 14 others were killed in an anti-drug operation led by Espenido. Policemen claimed they were about to serve search warrants on the Parojinogs but they were met by gunfire.
The mayor’s daughter Nova was arrested in that operation.
She and her brother Reynaldo Jr. are detained in Camp Crame, the national headquarters of the Philippine National Police in Quezon City.
President Rodrigo Duterte had labeled the Parojinogs a “narco” family.
Espenido said although she is detained, Nova still controls the illegal drugs trade in their area.
On December 5, Duterte signed a memorandum directing the Philippine National Police to again participate in the government’s war against illegal drugs.
The police was called back to join the drug campaign two months after the President tasked the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to lead the anti-drug campaign, temporarily ditching the police because of the public outrage stirred by the killing of two young drug suspects – Kian Loyd de los Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte signed the memorandum allowing the police to rejoin the drug war because “there has been a notable resurgence in illegal drug activities and crimes since the PNP and the other law enforcement agencies were directed to leave to the PDEA as sole agency the conduct of all anti-illegal drugs campaigns and operations.”
“There is a clamor from the public to restore to the PNP and all other law enforcement agencies the responsibility of providing active support in the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations,” Roque said.
However, the PDEA will continue to lead the drug campaign, with the police and other government agencies providing support and manpower.