Palace distances Duterte from deadly Parojinog raid

Photo by Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Malacañang on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte had no direct participation in the raid that left Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, Sr. and 14 others dead.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the president need not be directly involved in any police operation such as the fatal raid on the house of the Parojinogs.

This, amid allegations that the killing of Parojinog, a politician earlier tagged by the president as a narco-politician, was set-up.

“The president need not be involved in things like this. These are police matters and the police will have to take care of that. They have their own internal procedures for dealing with matters like this,” Guevarra told reporters in a chance interview.

Guevarra added, there should be a presumption of regularity in the carrying out of the police operation.

“If there’s anyone who will complain that something irregular happened, then an investigation will be done. For now we presume regularity,” he said.

In a separate news conference, Guevarra also told reporters that the Duterte has a standing order for the police to hunt down all politicians involved in the narcotics trade. This, however, does not mean he is aware of the details of all police operations.

“As far as I know, aside from his general instruction to eliminate drugs and all people who supported the illegal drug trade, he has no particular or specific participation in any of the actual police operations,” he said.

Policemen, equipped with 6 search warrants, on Sunday swooped down on properties of the Parojinog family in San Roque Lawis, Ozamiz.

Security personnel of the Parojinogs, however, allegedly fought authorities, triggering a gun battle that left 15 people dead, including the Parijonog patriarch and his wife Susan.

Parinog’s daughter, Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parajinog and her brother Reynaldo Jr. meanwhile were arrested after authorities found P1.4 million in cash, half a kilogram of suspected shabu and several firearms in her house.

Before flying to Manila, the vice mayor claimed police planted evidence against her family — an allegation denied by Misamis Occidental police chief Senior Supt. Jaysen De Guzman.

Guevarra said the government was open to any investigation into alleged irregularities in the raid, but he noted that the Philippine National Police already established procedures for such.

“That is bound to happen in incidents like this which result in deaths. Some people would claim there was over[kill],” he said.

“This usually happens. The normal procedures and the normal investigative procedures will have to be observed if there is any claim of some improper implementation of the search warrant.”

In the warrant against the Parojinog patriarch, cops were ordered to seize the following in his property in Barangay San Roque: 2 M16 rifles, 1 caliber .45 pistol, 1 M14 rifle, and an undetermined number of other firearms and ammunition.

The 6 search warrants were signed by Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 89.

The raid on the Parijonogs, however, yielded not just weapons but also suspected meth. Ozamiz police chief, Inspector Jovie Espenido, said the police seizing meth was incidental.

Parojinog was one of the local government officials named in Duterte’s narco-list. His daughter, meanwhile, was reportedly in a relationship with high-profile inmate Herbert Colangco.

The mayor had earlier denied any involvement in the illegal drugs trade.

Ozamiz City Police Director Jovie Espenido was also tagged in the killing of Rolando Espinosa, the former mayor of Albuerta, Leyte.

Espinosa was one of the first mayors targeted on Duterte’s narco-politicians list.

Espinosa was killed while detained inside provincial jail when cops tried to serve a search warrant against the mayor. Police officers shot Espinosa for allegedly fighting back.

Espenido was the police chief of Albuera town before being transferred to Ozamiz City as its police chief last December 2016.

A 90-day suspension was issued against Espenido last July 7 in connection to a case filed by Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, who said Espenido falsely accused him of being involved in the drug trade.

The suspension order, however, was cancelled on July 13.

Re-published from ABS-CBN News with edits

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