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Ozamiz raid part of anti-drug drive

by Genalyn D. Kabiling and Hannah L. Torregoza

Philippines – The police raid on the properties of Ozamiz City Reynaldo Parojinog was part of the government’s intensified crackdown against illegal drugs, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella confirmed that Parojinog, who was killed in the raid, was among the politicians implicated in illegal drug activities.

“The administration vowed to intensify the drug campaign,” Abella said. “The Parojinogs, if you would recall, are included in PRRD’s list of personalities involved in the illegal drug trade,” he added.

Reports said police tried serve search warrants in the Parojinog residence when they were met with gunfire from his security. Parojinog, his wife, and several others were killed in the shootout.

A police raid in another family property led to the arrest of the mayor’s daughter, Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez, and several others.

Abella said said authorities are expected to release updates as soon as they become available.

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson finds the circumstances surrounding the death of Parojinog and 11 other persons more credible than that of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

“Whatever are the circumstances of the deaths, at least this time, the mayor and the others killed were not under detention in a government facility,” Lacson said in a statement on the incident.

“They were reportedly in the mayor’s farm or residence and capable of shooting it out with the authorities,” Lacson added.

President Duterte vowed last week that his drug crackdown will be unrelenting despite criticisms on soaring death toll and alleged rights abuses. He said the fight will not stop until the drug pushers would cease “because the alternatives are either jail or hell.”

More than 3,000 drug suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations since the campaign began last year, according to police data.

In the proposed 2018 national budget, the President has raised the police budget to P131.5 billion for 2018, from the P11.8 billion this year.
Of the amount, P1.4 billion would bankroll the hiring of 10,000 new policemen from the current 194,410 police officers. Another P900 million will fund the “Oplan: Double Barrel Reloaded,” the government’s campaign flagship program against illegal drugs.