Robredo trusts gov't to thoroughly probe Parojinog slay

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo called for a thorough investigation into the police raid that led to the death of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others.

"Inaasahan natin na [may] masusing imbestigasyon. Hindi basta-basta 'yung insidenteng nangyari. 'Yung epekto nito hindi lang sa pamilya ng naging biktima, pero sa buong Pilipinas," said Robredo on the sidelines of her community visit to Barangay North Bay Boulevard South in Navotas City on Wednesday, August 2.

(We're hoping for a thorough investigation. The incident that happened was uncommon. It will affect not only the families of the victims, but the rest of the Philippines as well.)

"Tayo naman gusto nating magtiwala sa mga institusyon ng pamahalaan na gagawin ang imbestigasyon na nararapat dahil ang tiwala na 'to, ito 'yung pinaka-essence ng demokrasya natin," she added.

(We want to trust the institutions of the government to properly conduct the investigation, because this trust is the essence of our democracy.)

Robredo was asked to react to the police raid conducted at the residence of the influential clan in Ozamiz City early Sunday, July 30.

Cops said they were serving a search warrant when the Parojinogs' security personnel allegedly fired at them. But this was contested by the mayor's camp.

Aside from the mayor, others killed during the raid were Parojinog's wife Susan, his brother Octavio Jr, and their sister Mona, with 11 others, including members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team.

Parojinog was on the list of mayors, judges, and police officials that President Rodrigo Duterte earlier released, who are allegedly linked to the illegal drug trade.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said the Parojinogs' deaths should serve as a warning to other narcopoliticians.

The Commission on Human Rights has also launched its own probe into the matter.

Robredo is hoping the institutions tasked to investigate the deaths of the Parojinogs will not break the people's trust.

"Hinihingi natin sa mga institusyon natin na inaasahan natin na 'wag namang sayangin 'yung ating tiwala, na 'yung imbestigasyon na gagawin hindi 'yung lalong makakabigay ng pagduda, lalong mas maraming katanungan 'yung maibibigay," she said.

(We're asking our institutions not to waste our trust, for the investigation not to lead to doubt or more questions.)

'Chilling effect' in drug war

The Vice President agreed with Dela Rosa in saying the Parojinogs' death should serve as a warning to others linked to illegal drugs. But in the same breath, Robredo also questioned the manner by which Duterte's bloody drug war is being carried out.

"Ano kasi, puwede mong tignan both ways: Parang may chilling effect ito eh. Parang may threat siya sa mga narcopoliticians na patuloy pa rin 'yung mga hindi dapat gawin," said Robredo.

(We can look at this both ways: This has a chilling effect. It's a threat for narcopoliticians who continue to do wrong things.)

"Pero on the other hand, question din ito sa paraan, sa paraan ng paggawa. Kasi 'yung demokrasya naman natin nakabase sa rule of law. Demokrasya natin nakabase sa integrity ng institutions. Kaya mahalaga 'yung prosesong pagdadaanan, kasi ito 'yung makaka-determine kung kailangan ba tayong tumiwala," added the Vice President.

(But on the other hand, this is also a question on the method. Our democracy is based on the rule of law. Our democracy is based on the integrity of our institutions. The reason why the method is important is because it determines whether or not we should continue trusting.)

Parojinog is the 3rd mayor mentioned in Duterte's drug list who has been killed.

In November 2016, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr died during a nighttime raid in a provincial jail.

Duterte had defended the officers involved in the raid and ordered their reinstatement, with critics saying the decision would worsen the nation's "culture of impunity."

In October 2016, Datu Saudi Ampatuan Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom was killed in a shootout at a police checkpoint on suspicion he and his security personnel were transporting illegal drugs. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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