Ozamiz drug raid a 'rub out' - Parojinog lawyer

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Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer for Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog, said witnesses saw there was no shootout as grenades were rolled under the gate.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 2) — Witnesses said the drug raid at the residence of Ozamiz Mayor was actually a rub out – even utilizing grenades before confrontation, Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog's lawyer said Wednesday.

"There are different witnesses to different events. The most important witness will say that the killings [were] a rub out, not as a result of legitimate police operations," Atty. Ferdinand Topacio told CNN Philippines' The Source.

Parojinog survived a drug raid that left 16 – including her father, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. – dead before dawn on Sunday.

She and her brother, Reynaldo Jr., are facing illegal criminal charges after police retrieved P1.4 million, bags of suspected illegal drug shabu, three rifle grenades, and a firearm at the house.

Related: Police file illegal drugs, firearms charges vs. Ozamiz City Vice Mayor, brother

Police maintain the drug operations were legitimate, claiming shots from Parojinog's men triggered a shootout.

Related: Ozamiz raids legitimate, no rubout of Parojinogs – PNP Chief

However, Topacio said there were explosions, not a shootout.

"According to witnesses that I've talked to, it was because prior to this search, grenades were rolled under the gate of the Parojinog residences. These were grenades that exploded and killed all of these casualties," said Topacio.

"That is why they said it was not true that the searching team was met with an initial volley of firearm shots. Without any warning, there were already explosions and there were already gunshots from all directions," he added.

In a walkthrough of the Parajinog residence by CNN Philippines' Senior Correspondent David Santos, a small crater caused by an explosive is seen on the floor.

Family members of four barangay tanods (neighborhood watchmen) who were killed in the operation also maintained their loved ones were innocent, with one calling the operation a "massacre."


Topacio also serves as legal counsel for the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, which filed drug charges against Sen. Leila De Lima.

He said he met Parojinog through convicted drug lord Herbert Colanggo, who testified against De Lima in a House probe.

Impartial investigation

Parojinog said they want an independent investigation.

"Vice Mayor Parojinog is asking for an independent body – Congress perhaps, or the Senate – to initiate a probe into this so the truth will come out," said Topacio.

While he appealed to legislators, he said he did not personally approach any "because it would be self-serving."

Topacio also maintained there was no conflict of interest despite his position as legal counsel of the VACC. He added the organization was "not an adjunct of the Duterte administration."

Also looking into the incident is the Commission on Human Rights, which is set to investigate whether proper protocols were followed.

Related: CHR to investigate on Ozamiz mayor slay

Among the contested protocols was the time the arrest warrant was served.

Former police chief and Public Order Committee Chair Sen. Panfilo Lacson expressed there was "no irregularity" in serving it at night.

However, Senator Franklin Drilon on Monday raised suspicion on the warrant being served before dawn.

"The rules of court, as a rule, says that [a] search warrant should be served during daytime; and if it's served in the evening, it must be so specified," said Drilon.

Drilon sits as an ex-officio member at the Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee and the Blue Ribbon Committee, which deals with the accountability of public officers.