De Lima seeks Senate probe on Ozamiz ‘massacre’


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Senator Leila M. de Lima has called for a Senate investigation into the suspicious circumstances behind the violent raid in the house of slain Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., which many deemed as a summary execution disguised as legitimate law enforcement.

De Lima, a known human rights defender, filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 453 directing the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry into the bloody police raid of the family compound implemented at dawn that led to the deaths of Parojinog, his family and security staff.

“It appears that the fact that the search warrant was implemented under the cover of darkness and with the cameras disabled indicates that there is a malevolent intent under the guise of implementing a warrant,” she said.

Based on reports, the raiding team of the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) along with Ozamiz City Police were to serve a search warrant for illegal drugs and unlicensed firearms involving Parojinog, his daughter, and four other officials of the province at around 2:30 a.m. on July 30 when a shootout took place leaving 15 people killed, including the Ozamis City Mayor.

There was also a suspicious power outage at Bgy. San Roque before the police operation took place, and a supposed disabling of the closed-circuit TV (CCTV) at the family compound prior to police entering the premises.

According to one alleged survivor, who claims to be a relative of Parojinog, the policemen who conducted the raid purportedly ordered the late Mayor and his companions to lie face down inside their house before throwing a grenade at them.

De Lima denounced the violent operation, saying the CIDG raiding team did not follow the protocol for police operations, including the timing of the raid, which should be served during daytime, unless there is a provision in the warrant allowing service at any time of the day or night.

The former chairperson of Commission on Human Rights also noted that the demise of Parojinog bears a striking similarity to the one that led to the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa in Leyte, wherein Senate found probable cause to recommend the filing of murder charges against the Philippine National Police (PNP) officials who implemented the search warrant.

“A search warrant is not a warrant to kill, or a death sentence, and the suspicious pattern of how search warrants are being implemented by the PNP, especially by Chief Inspector Espenido, resulting in the killing of a considerable number of human beings, create the impression that search warrants are merely being used by the PNP to facilitate extra-judicial killings of mere suspects in accordance with the ‘nanlaban’ narrative, where police subjects are always said to have engaged the police in a firefight,” she warned.

Note that in August last year, Parojinog was named by President Duterte as among the local chief executives involved in the illegal drug trade.

Since Duterte, who promotes killings as crime prevention, started his all-out war on illegal drugs in July last year, more than 8,000 people have already been killed – both from legitimate police operations and vigilante-style executions.

Given that Ozamiz City is part of Mindanao, De Lima said it is more important that the Senate conduct a deeper probe into these “disturbing pattern of abuse” and avoid any injustices committed by law enforcers especially that the province is under martial law.

President Duterte placed the entire region of Mindanao under martial law on May 23 due to the ongoing clashes between government troops and ISIS-inspired Maute group terrorists in Marawi City.

De Lima, who was recognized by Amnesty International as one of the notable Women Human Rights Defenders, vowed to continue fighting against injustices even while in detention.

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