Philippine mayor, 13 others killed in raids linked to drugs

Critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte say accusations of drug-trade ties are merely means of quelling dissent

02 August, 2017

Officers were to serve warrants to Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., of Ozamiz, a port city, to search his houses for the suspected presence of unlicensed firearms when gunmen opened fire on the police, sparking clashes that killed the mayor, his wife and at least 13 other people, Ozamiz police chief Jovie Espenido said.

"During the implementation of search warrant, the operating police personnel encountered volley of fire from the security of the Parojinog, which prompted them to retaliate with their own fire". They said they recovered a cachet of rifles, cash and illegal drugs inside.

In Malacanang Palace, Secretary Ernesto Abella, the presidential spokesman, said the killings were part of the intensified war on illegal drugs launched by President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte.

The Parojinogs were among powerful warlord clans whom President Rodrigo Duterte has named as biggest narco-politicians in violence-plagued Philippines.

He was the third mayor to be killed under Mr Duterte's bloody crackdown on drugs, which has left more than 3,000 dead in reported gunfights with police and thousands of other unexplained deaths of suspects.

15 were killed from the side of Parojinogs including Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo "Aldong" Parojinog, his wife Susan, and his brother Octavio Parojinog Jr.

A year ago police shot dead a mayor in a cell on Leyte island and another mayor and nine of his bodyguards were killed allegedly during a fire-fight in the southern Philippines.

Relatives even said that Parojinog did not spare those he suspected to be involved in illegal drugs, including his kin.

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Duterte has promised an unrelenting war on drugs, defying critics who were "trivialising" his campaign with human rights concerns and unjustly blaming the authorities for the bloodshed.

Parojinog's daughter, Vice Mayor Nova Echaves, was arrested.

The drug raid was held 2:30 a.m. of Sunday at the Parojinog properties.

Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero said that in the police manual, arrest warrants are required to be served during day time.

Ozamiz City Police Chief Senior Inspector Jovani Espenido said at the media briefing that Parojinogs were the source of illegal drugs in Ozamiz.

Duterte said he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts, and likened his campaign to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's efforts to exterminate Jews in Europe.

The police chief had explained that the bodies were displayed so that their kin could identify them and to encourage people allegedly victimized by the slain suspects to come forward.

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