Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cops threw grenade at Vice Mayor Parojinog, et al: lawyer

MANILA - Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog and several others escaped death after police allegedly threw a grenade at them during Sunday's raid, which did not explode, her lawyer claimed Thursday.

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio said Parojinog told him that police gathered her and several others into a room after the raid in her home, which yielded P1.4 million in cash, half a kilogram of suspected shabu and several firearms.

He told ANC's Headstart, Parojinog claimed "a grenade was thrown at them, but it did not explode."

Topacio said that at this point, Parojinog and the others "were already being submissive to the police" after the raid in her home in San Roque Lawis, Ozamiz City.

He noted that the same thing happened to Parojinog's father, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., who was killed in his own home during the same series of raids on Sunday.

Mayor Parojinog was one of the local government officials named in President Rodrigo Duterte's narco-list. He earlier denied any involvement in the illegal drugs trade.

Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, police chief of Ozamiz City, said his men had to evade the Parojinog camp's attempt to throw a grenade at them. He said a dead person inside Mayor Parojinog’s house had a grenade pin in his right middle finger.

Topacio said another lawyer, Atty. Lawrence Clarin, who was "on ground zero right after it happened" demanded that the National Bureau of Investigation conduct the scene of the crime investigation and the autopsy so that a third party would be in charge. However, he said the police refused to let the NBI take charge of the autopsy and investigation.

Clarin now represents Reynaldo Parojinog Jr., the vice mayor's brother, who was also arrested last Sunday.

Reacting to Topacio's allegation, Philippine National Police Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos told ABS-CBN News in a text message: "Let him present that in the court proceeding."

Speaking to ANC's Dateline Philippines, Carlos said "it’s too early in the day to give out such allegations."

"Let us wait for the official report or the final report of the operating team, which is coming from the CIDG. We will also look at the result of the investigation being conducted by our Internal Affairs Service," he said.

"They should back it up and the Philippine National Police will not tolerate any wrongdoing of our members," he added.


Meanwhile, Topacio also maintained that according to Vice Mayor Parojinog, their family did not keep a private army as alleged by the police.

"The neighbors will say that the members of the alleged private army were barangay tanods. They were not armed. They were there to try to watch over the premises because some days before, the security detail, the official security detail of the mayor had been pulled out," Topacio said.

He added, he heard a televised testimony of one of the neighbors that one of these tanods begged for his life, "saying ‘wag niyo akong patayin, wala naman akong baril.’ And then he was killed anyway."

Carlos dared Topacio and the Parojinog camp to present these allegations in proper proceedings "because appropriate criminal charges are already filed against their client."

"All they have to do is present this in the criminal proceedings and prove it," he said.