MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others, including his wife Susan, brother Octavio Jr, and sister Mona, were killed in a police raid early Sunday, July 30.
Members of the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), together with the Misamis Occidental Police Provincial Office and the Ozamiz City Police Station raided the Parojinog residence at around 2:30 am.
The authorities had a search warrant for the mayor, his daughter Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog, and several other family members.
According to a police report, the serving personnel were met with a volley of fire from the Parojinogs’ security personnel, prompting police to retaliate.
“Police were serving a search warrant when the security guards of the mayor fired at them so our policemen retaliated,” police regional spokesman Superintendent Lemuel Gonda told Agence France-Presse.
However Jeffrey Ocang, an aide to the Parojinogs who are an influential political clan, denied there had been any exchange of gunfire and said the mayor’s camp did not fire a shot.
Police said none of their officers were hurt apart from one who sustained a minor injury from an explosion.
Aside from the mayor and 3 of his family members, also killed were Miguel del Victoria, Nestor Cabalan, Daniel Vasquez, and one still unidentified person, who were all members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT). A certain Lydia and JR of Lumad TV were also among the dead.
The vice mayor and her brother Reynaldo Jr were arrested.
Cops also recovered grenades, ammunition, as well as illegal drugs in the raid, according to police provincial chief Jaysen de Guzman.
The raiding team also went to the residence of Parojinog’s brother Ricardo in Barangay Bagakay, but he was not around. Seized from his home were assorted firearms, ammunition, alleged illegal drugs, and drug paraphernalia.
Police also raided Parojinog’s farmhouse in Barangay Cogon.
The Parojinogs are among those named by President Rodrigo Duterte in his list of local government offiicals allegedly involved in the drug trade. The Parojinogs deny the accusation.
Police said Sunday they had conducted surveillance on Parojinog based on the President’s remarks.
“He has many security personnel who carry unlicensed firearms,” regional police chief Timoteo Pacleb told radio dzMM.
Two other mayors Duterte mentioned in his so-called “drug list” were killed last year.
In November, Rolando Espinosa Sr, the mayor of Albuera, Leyte, was killed during a nighttime raid in a provincial jail.
In October, Samsudin Dimaukom, the mayor of the southern town of Saudi Ampatuan, was killed in a shootout at a police checkpoint on suspicion he and his security personnel were transporting illegal drugs, authorities said.
Commenting on Sunday’s raid, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said: “The administration vowed to intensify the drug campaign.” – with reports from Bobby Lagsa and Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com