President Rodrigo Duterte implied that the July 30 killing of the Parojinog family and 12 others was state-sanctioned as it was him, as commander-in-chief, who had ordered authorities to eliminate drug-linked persons.
“The police and the military should make sure that their enemies are dead. Otherwise, if the other guy could still pull the trigger, you will end up with a dead police or a dead military soldier,” Duterte said after he was asked by a reporter if he would justify claims that what was done to the Parojinogs was overkill.
“Bakit ko gusto ‘yan [Why do I like that]? Eh ako ‘yong [Because I am the] commander-in-chief of all the armed forces. Remember that, commander-in-chief of all the armed forces of the Philippines,” added Duterte, who attended the celebration of the 113th anniversary of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in Quezon City on Wednesday.
Ozamiz City Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido earlier said that even before authorities could serve the warrants last Sunday past 2 a.m. at the family’s residences, the Parajinogs and their men began shooting at the policemen, prompting authorities to retaliate.
The firefight resulted in the death of Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., his wife Susan, his siblings Octavio, and Mona, and 11 others. The number of fatalities later increased to 16 with the death at the hospital of Daryl Parojinog, cousin of Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog.
But the camp of the Parojinogs denied that the family shot at the raiding team. One of those who survived the raid and was only identified in a news report as “Cesar,” claimed that during the predawn raid amid a power outage, the police gathered the family and their companions and told them to lie on their stomach.
The policemen then allegedly walked away before grenades were thrown at the Parojinogs. The authorities then went back and allegedly gunned down those that were not killed when the explosives went off that included the mayor, his wife, and the mayor’s brother Octavio.
On Tuesday, Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros called for a Senate inquiry into the July 30 incident, saying she wanted to find out if the Parojinog killings were a “state-sanctioned massacre.”
“If these prove true, then what happened in Ozamiz was not a legitimate police operation but a state-sanctioned massacre. It would carry the elements and blueprint of the extrajudicial killing of Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.” she said.
On Wednesday, Duterte said the Parojinogs “were running the city (Ozamiz) as if it was the feudal state of the family.”
He also claimed that the Parojinogs had allegedly ordered the killing of policemen who did not follow their orders.
“Parojinog has been there and you can ask the ordinary citizen of Ozamiz. Tanungin mo sila kung ilang pulis ang namatay do’n na di sumunod,” said Duterte.
The President said he earlier gathered and warned the Parojinogs and other local officials allegedly involved in narcotics trade to stop their illegal activities or he would have drug organizations and those behind these groups destroyed.
One time I called for all of them, sa kanila, di ko kayo niyaya, I barred the media, three batches. Sinabi ko talaga sa kanila, ‘Do not do it. Do not do it because my order is to destroy the organizations,’” said Duterte.
“And so my order to the military and the police, and rightly so, (is) to destroy the organization of suppliers, users, and everybody connected with the organizations because they keep alive the trade,” he added.