DOJ panel: Parojinog siblings' arrest, inquest valid

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) inquest panel decided on Tuesday, August 1, that the arrest and inquest of Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog and her brother Reynaldo Jr are valid.

"During the inquest, we ruled that the arrest was valid and the case is proper for inquest [in court]," DOJ panel head Juan Pedro Navera told Rappler in a phone interview.

The siblings were arrested after a search warrant was served by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on the home of the Parojinogs in Ozamiz City before dawn last Sunday, July 30.

The encounter became bloody as the Parojinogs' security personnel supposedly fired first at the cops, who then retaliated.

Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, his wife Susan, brother Octavio Jr, sister Mona, and 11 others were killed. Firearms and suspected illegal drugs were also recovered from the residence, said authorities. (READ: TIMELINE: Parojinog, from Duterte's narco list to a bloody raid)

According to the siblings' lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, the DOJ panel was also inclined to file charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives as well as possession of prohibited drugs.

But Navera denied Topacio's claim, saying it was "speculative and highly premature" as the case has only been filed for resolution. There is no resolution, so far, recommending that charges be filed.

Taking the legal offensive, Topacio said they are considering filing a case against the PNP for detaining the siblings for more than 36 hours without a court order.

He said the PNP cited "transportation problems" for the delay.

"On record na alas nwebe ng umaga [on Monday, July 31] na nandito na ang mga clients. Wala pong reason sapagkat 9 am hanggang 6 pm ng gabi ay napakatagal na oras na po noon," Topacio said.

(It is on the record that they were detained here in Camp Crame at 9 am [on Monday, July 31]. There is no reason to detain them any longer because 9 am until 6 pm is already a long period.)

While court hearings would happen in Ozamiz City or where the alleged crimes took place, Topacio said the siblings requested that they be detained away from their hometown, fearing for their lives after the police operation. (READ: The Parojinogs and the tangled webs they wove– Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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