A DAY after President Rodrigo Duterte brought back the Philippine National Police (PNP) to the drug war, Ozamiz City police did not waste time as it reported the recovery of P112 million worth of “shabu” allegedly from the family of the late mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr.
Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido of the Ozamiz City police said the seized drugs were old and unsold items that were stored by the Parojinogs to sell for future financial gain now that their patriarch was dead.
“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,” Espenido said in a radio interview.
On Wednesday, Espenido claimed that around P32 million worth of drugs were confiscated from three suspects linked to the Parojinog family in Ozamiz City on Tuesday.
Espenido identified the suspects as Butch Merino, Melden Rabanes, and Rosielyn Walohan who were arrested from a series of operations in Misamis Occidental.
Police said Rabanes was a first cousin of detained Ozamiz City vice mayor Nova Parojinog while Merino was a former driver of the vice mayor.
The suspects faced charges of illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs.
In a follow-up operation, around 10 kilos of shabu worth P80 million were allegedly recovered from Melodina and Gaudencio Malingin, and Michelle Gumapac. The Malingins were identified as the parents of Merino.
Espenido said that “shabu” runners were deployed in different cities in Mindanao and transported their “cargo” through ships.
“Yung transaksyon nila, ‘yung taga-Cebu, magpupunta sa Ozamiz, sakay lang ng barko. Ganundin ‘yung taga-Lanao, taga-General Santos,” said Espenido.
(Those from Cebu will ride a ship to Ozamiz for transactions. It’s the same thing with those from Lanao and General Santos.)
On July 30, Reynaldo Parojinog, his wife Susan, and 14 others were killed in an anti-drug operation led by Espenido. President Rodrigo Duterte labeled the Parojinogs as a “narco-politician” family.
Aside from Nova Parojinog, her brother Reynaldo Jr., is also detained in Camp Crame, Quezon City. They are both charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Reynaldo was also charged for illegal possession of explosives.
Espenido first hogged the limelight in connection with the arrest and killing of Albuera town mayor Rolando Espinosa while in detention in November in Baybay, Leyte jail also on drug trafficking charges.
After Ozamiz City, Espenido was set to be transferred to Iloilo City where its mayor, Jed Patrick Mabilog, was also linked to the illegal drug trade. Mabilog denied the allegations that Duterte first made based on his drug list. He is currently out of the country.
The change in Espenido’s assignment, however, did not push through. JASI DE MATEO