MANILA - The head of the Misamis Occidental provincial police denied Monday that his men planted illegal drugs during a series of pre-dawn raids that left dead Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, Sr. and 14 others.
Provincial police chief, Senior Supt. Jaysen De Guzman claimed it was mere coincidence that operatives found shabu when they served 6 search warrants for firearms in the properties of the Parajinog family in San Roque Lawis, Ozamis early Sunday.
"Kami po ay nag-lead lang po dito sa CIDG (police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) na siyang may hawak ng kanilang search warrant para sa firearms. Nagkataon na lang po siguro na may nadiscover pong drugs doon," De Guzman told radio DZMM.
(We only led CIDG personnel who held the search warrants for firearms. It was just coincidence perhaps that drugs were also discovered there.)
Police earlier said they met violent resistance when they raided the 3 adjoining houses of the Parojinogs around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
The ensuing gun battle between the raiding team and the Parojinogs' security personnel killed 15 people including the mayor, his wife Susan, brother and Misamis Occidental board member Octavio Parojinog, and their sister Mona.
The mayor's daughter, Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog, was arrested after police found drugs and several firearms in her house.
She claimed however that operatives fabricated evidence against her family. Policemen, she added, lobbed an explosive into their homes to force them to go outside.
"Planted lahat ng iyan... Tinapunan pa kami ng granada para akala namin puputok. Lumabas pa kami ng bahay, pasok ulit. Buang ang magdala ng shabu," she told reporters at the Ozamiz police station, where she was detained.
De Guzman maintained that policemen only fought back after meeting a volley of gunshots from the Parojinogs.
"May tama po iyung mobile natin, sir. Kaya iyun po ang isa po naming patunay na talaga pong galing po sa taas ang tama at sila po ay unang," he said.
(Our police mobile was hit by bullets. That will prove that the gunshots came from above and that the Parojinogs were the first to fire.)
A policeman, he added, also sustained minor injuries from enemy fire.
NO IRREGULARITY IN PRE-DAWN OP
The official also said there was nothing wrong with conducting the raid at 2:30 a.m. in order to maintain an element of surprise against the targets.
"Iyun po kasing ating service po ng search warrant, wala naman po itong pinipiling oras -- any time of the day and night po iyan. Ang nangyayari na lang po, para hindi po ma-detect at makatunog ang subject po nila," he said.
(The service of search warrants may be done any time. This is done so that subjects would not detect operatives.)
De Guzman however said he cannot address reports that CCTV footage from the Parojinogs' properties have gone missing.
Investigators, he said, were still accounting the items seized during the operation.
NO HALT IN MISAMIS DRUG WAR
The fatal raids, De Guzman added, will not put a stop to the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-narcotics crackdown in the province.
The police said the drug menace remains especially problematic in Ozamiz although there had been no recent reports that the Parojinogs were dabbling with narcotics.
"So far po iyung sa datos natin, monitoring, may mga drugs po dito sa Ozamiz. Wala pa naman po akong partikular na [impormasyong] talagang sa kanila (Parajinogs) po," De Guzman said.
"Iyung ating campaign po sa drugs, hindi pa po tapos iyan. Tuloy-tuloy pa rin po iyan until such time na totally ma-eliminate po natin ng drugs dito sa Ozamiz."
(Our data and monitoring showed drugs remain rampant in Ozamiz. We have no particular information that the Parojinogs were behind this. Our campaign against drugs is not yet finished. This will continue until we totally eliminate drugs in Ozamiz.)
Duterte last August named Mayor Parojinog among the local government officials allegedly coddling drug rings. His daughter, meanwhile, was reportedly in a relationship with high-profile Bilibid inmate Herbert Colangco.
The mayor earlier denied any involvement in the narcotics trade.
De Guzman said intelligence units are monitoring other officials named in Duterte's narco-list.