MANILA, Philippines— Ferdinand Topacio leads the legal team that will defend Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog and her brother Reynaldo Jr, the lawyer announced on Monday, July 31.
“I will be the lead, but there will be others,” Topacio told the media after visiting the siblings, who are detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
The Parojinog family was earlier served with a search warrant for keeping illegal firearms, but the visit became bloody as the family supposedly shot it out with the police, forcing the uniformed personnel to fire back.
Family patriarch Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, his wife, brother, sister, and 11 others were killed in the exchange. (READ: Deaths after nighttime warrants suspicious – Drilon)
Nova and Reynaldo can only be detained without a warrant from 18 to 36 hours, depending on the charges against them.
They are scheduled for an inquest on Tuesday, August 1, at the Department of Justice.
Prior to taking this case, Topacio provided legal counsel to convicted drug lord Herbert Colanggo, who was reportedly in a relationship with Nova Parojinog.
Search warrant questioned
Topacio said they would question the legitimacy of the search warrant and the narrative of the police.
He said his clients have not seen the search warrant and that “excessive brutality” may have been present in its delivery.
“Pati mga babae, pati ina, namatay (Even women, even mothers, died)? I think the magnitude of the killings is grossly disproportionate to a legitimate operation,” Topacio said.
“Hindi naman ito buy-bust eh, ano? This was a service of a search warrant na may appreciable length of time…. Hindi p’wedeng parang raid sa terorista katulad ni Marwan, or KFR (kidnap-for-ransom). Hindi p’wedeng ganon kung search warrant,” he added.
(This was not a buy-bust operation. This was the serving of a search warrant with an appreciable length of time… It couldn’t be conducted like a raid against terrorists like Marwan, or kidnap-for-ransom. It shouldn’t have been conducted like that if it was just to serve a search warrant.)
He slammed PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa for saying earlier that search warrants could be served any time as long as it gave the police “maximum advantage.”
“There is no such a thing as a maximum advantage doctrine,” Topacio said. “The general rule is that it is during daytime and reasonable hours. There are exceptions. Let’s see if it falls under any of the exceptions.”
Earlier, the siblings’ lawyer from Ozamiz City was barred from entering the detention center. He questioned why they were detained in Camp Crame. (READ: Parojinog siblings’ lawyer questions detention in Crame)
It turns out, as Topacio disclosed, Nova Parojinog requested for the transfer for fear of their safety in no less than their home city. – Rappler.com