PNP Internal Affairs starts probe into bloody Ozamiz raid

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) Internal Affairs Service (IAS) has started its investigation into last weekend's bloody raid at the residence of Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, Sr.

The pre-dawn raid last Sunday had left 15 people dead, including the mayor, whose name appeared on President Rodrigo Duterte's "narco list".

Senior Superintendent Geary Galvan, RIAS Northern Mindanao chief, said a team from the provincial internal affairs service office of Misamis Occidental was ordered to immediately check and probe the bloody operation.

"Automatic yun sa RIAS na pag may namatay sa operation gagawa agad tayo ng investigation," Galvan said.

Galvan said the investigation started on Monday, July 31 and may likely last for 15 days before they could determine if there were irregularities or not in implementing the operation.

The chief said that the investigation will focus on the operational procedure employed by the raiding team.

"Titingnan sa investigation kung nasunod ba ng police ang procedure sa pag-conduct ng operation," Galvan said.

The investigating team is also set to conduct ocular inspection at the houses of the Parojinogs raided by the police last Sunday.

Galvan said should the police investigating body find irregularities in the operation, the members of the raiding team may likely face administrative charges for grave misconduct.

On June 30, a team from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the city and provincial police stormed the compound of the Parojinog family in Ozamiz City but the operation turned violent after the mayor's security team allegedly fired shots at the policemen.

The policemen were to serve six search warrants against the mayor, his daughter Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez, son Reynaldo Jr., and Provincial Board Member Ricardo Parojinog.

The raid resulted in the killing of mayor Parojinog, his wife, and 13 others.

Thirteen people were arrested including the vice mayor and Reynaldo Jr.

Last Monday, Parojinog-Echavez who was transferred to Camp Crame in Quezon City, along with her brother, claimed that the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras inside their house were cut by the raiding team to hide the irregularities committed during the raid.

PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said the policemen who took part in the operation will be summoned once the PNP-IAS found irregularities in the operation.

Carlos, however, said the Crime Laboratory with the assistance of the CIDG is still in processing the evidence recovered during the raid, including the high powered firearms and suspected illegal drugs.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, legal counsel of the Parojinogs, raised several points which he finds irregular in the operation including the disabling of the CCTV cameras and the operation is "overkill."

He said the police should not have cut the CCTV cameras in the house if they really are not trying to hide anything of if they really want to be transparency with their operation.

Topacio said the operation was overkill citing that an old woman, particularly the mayor's wife, Susan, could have been spared doubting that she had firearms and used them against the raiding team.

"I'm all for the war on drugs... but there is such a thing as justified killing, and there is such a thing as overkill," he said.

"Babaeng matanda, alangan namang bumunot iyon ng M16, M14 at pagbabarilin ang mga pulis. Malayo pong mangyari," he added.

A day earlier, PNP chief Ronald Dela Rosa defended the operating team, saying what had happened in Ozamiz City was a shootout between the operating teams and members of the mayor's security aides.

"Labanan naman iyon. Hindi mo naman alam kung sinong tatamaan. Titira ka ng titira kasi tinitira ka din ng kalaban,” he said.

Carlos meanwhile urged the public to refrain from making comments on the incident until the result of the investigation comes out.

"Let us allow the investigators to complete their investigation. Tingnan natin ang account ng operating team... Eventually, they (Parojinogs) will have their own witness as they claim now and present them before the court," he said. (SunStar Philippines/With Alwen Saliring/SunStar Cagayan de Oro)