MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday welcomed the arrest of fugitive Ozamiz City Councilor Ricardo "Ardot" Parojinog, whose family has been linked to the drug trade and who is now under investigation for illegal firearms possession.
Parojinog, younger brother of slain Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog who President Rodrigo Duterte had linked to the illegal drug trade, was arrested in Taiwan, ending 10 months in hiding.
This was a sign of guilt, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
“Ito ay mabuting balita dahil unang-una, ano ang ginagawa niya sa Taiwan kung wala siyang batas na nilabag? Sabi nga po nila, ‘flight is evidence of guilt,’” Roque said in a press briefing in Marawi City.
(This is good news. First of all, what was he doing in Taiwan if he knew he has not violated any law? As they say, “flight is evidence of guilt.”)
“Para sa residente ng bayan ni Councilor Parojinog, sisiguruhin nating magkakaroon ng katarungan. Siya ay iimbestigahan, lilitisin at paparusahan para sa krimen na 'yan.”
(For the constituents of Councilor Parojinog, we will make sure that there will be justice. He will be investigated, tried and punished for his crime.)
The councilor was captured in Pingtung County, a fishing village in Taiwan, for overstaying and violating immigration laws, said Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) representative Lito Banayo.
Investigators could not say yet when Parojinog entered Taiwan, Banayo said.
Parojinog, he added, is now in the custody of Taiwan immigration authorities.
In August 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an immigration lookout bulletin order against Ricardo Parojinog in connection with the deadly raid.
The DOJ said Parojinog was not home when police found several firearms and ammunition in his residence.
Other Parojinogs who face charges include the late mayor's daughter Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog and her brother Reynaldo Parojinog Jr., both detained for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
They were charged following the bloody raid in Ozamiz City in July 2017, where the mayor, his wife and 14 others were killed.
Earlier this month, Reynaldo Jr. was transferred to the Quezon City Jail from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, where his sister remains.