CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo “Aldong” Parojinog, and several others were killed during a simultaneous raid of the Parojinog residences and farm in Ozamiz City early Sunday morning, according to reports culled by The Manila Times.
Also killed were Parojinog’s wife, Susan; his son, Parojinog, Jr., two alleged crew of a local television station, police here said.
A separate report by the Misamis Occidental Provincial Police Office said 12, including the mayor, were killed.
Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog Eschavez, the mayor’s daughter, was also arrested, and was now in the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) as authorities began processing the crime scene.
Supt. Lemuel Gonda, spokesman of the police regional command, said that armed with six search warrants, the provincial police office of Misamis Occidental, in coordination with the Ozamiz City police and the provincial CIDG conducted the raids 2:00 a.m. Sunday.
Gonda said the six search warrants were for Mayor Parojinog, Sr., Vice Mayor Parojinog Echavez, Reynaldo Jr., and Board Member Ricardo Parojinog.
He said that the raiding team was serving the search warrant to Mayor Parojinog in his residence in Barangay San Roque, Lawis, Ozamis City when the mayor’s security men opened fire, prompting the lawmen to retaliate.
Recovered from the scene were an M79 rifle in the house of Mayor Parojinog who was killed together with his wife and son during the exchange of gunfire.
The two television crewmen who were killed, along with the Parojinogs, were from “Lumad TV” and were identified only as Lydia and JR. The circumstances of how they came to be at the home of the mayor were not clear.
Law enforcers who raided the house of former board member and incumbent city councilor “Ardot” Parojinog in Barangay Bagakay, recovered one shotgun, three rocket propelled grenade launchers, two hand grenades, 8 M79 ammunition and an M79 rifle.
Aside from the firearms, the raiding team reportedly seized “shabu,” (methamphetamine hydrochloride), and illegal drug paraphernalia in the city councilor’s house who was not around when the raid occurred.
Reports reaching The Manila Times said that four members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) were also killed during the Sunday dawn raid.
The BPAT fatalities were reportedly identified as Miguel Del Victoria, Daniel D. Vasquez, Nestor Cabalan and an unidentified BPAT member.
It was not clear whether the BPAT members were serving as guides of the raiding team or part of Parojinog’s security personnel.
Gonda told The Manila Times that “as far as the body count, only seven were reported killed, including Mayor Parojinog.”
He said that, as of posting time, the scene of the crime officials (SOCO) were still conducting an inventory of the “illegal items” found on the scene.
“I have no idea if the raiding team suffered casualties,” Gonda said, referring to the members of the provincial police command, the city police office, and the CIDG.
Heavily armed law enforcers in Ozamiz City have cordoned off Barangay San Roque and warned residents against getting near the Parojinog residence.
In 2016, the Philippine National Police (PNP) withdrew Parojinog’s authority over the local police and raided his houses in search of alleged illegal drugs and firearms.
Parojinog denied any connection with the illegal drug trade and voluntarily turned over his firearms to the regional police command in Cagayan De Oro City for “safe keeping.”
Parojinog and the city government is in the thick of preparing for this year’s tourism month for the grand celebration of the historic and miraculous “Birhen Sa Cotta,” (Virgin of Cotta) built in 1755 by Father Jose Ducos.
A resident told The Manila Times on Sunday, about the possible effects the killing of the city mayor, members of his family and the arrest of his daughter who was reportedly linked to one of the high-profile drug inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Manila, may have on the city.
“Ozamiz City is now a dangerous place,” the resident said.
Parojinog is the second local official to be killed under the Duterte administration. The Parojinogs are included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of suspected narco-politicians. The mayor denied the allegations.
Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte, was killed in November 2016 in a raid by the CIDG in Eastern Visayas formerly headed by Supt. Marvin Marcos on suspicion that he was hiding illegal drugs and guns inside his cell.
Espinosa, an alleged drug lord in Eastern Visayas, was set to name politicians and lawmen linked to the illegal drug trade before his death.
Marcos and his men were suspended pending results of an investigation into murder allegations.
Duterte, however, ordered the reinstatement of Marcos even before the investigation could be finished and the murder charges that were initially recommended for filing against the police officer and his men downgraded to homicide.
Marcos now heads the CIDG in Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos).