Philippines | Police say Duterte's crackdown to target more drug lords

Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and his daughter Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog, were gunned down in the Sunday morning raid

The mayor, who was among a list of officials publicly shamed past year by Duterte of being linked to drugs, was killed alongside his wife and 10 others during a series of pre-dawn anti-drug raids.

Director-General Ronald dela Rosa, Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday defended the police officers who tried to serve a search warrant in the wee hours (around 2:00 a.m.) Sunday but ended up figuring in a firefight that resulted in the death of 15 persons, including their subject, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and his wife, in Ozamiz City.

At least five people, including Mr Parojinog's daughter, who serves as vice mayor of Ozamiz, were arrested during the raids.

Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez (in white cap) and her brother Reynaldo Parojinog Jr.

Police said they confiscated high-powered rifles, bundles of cash, and an unspecified amount of methamphetamines at Reynaldo Parojinog's home.

"Unless something develops later showing that (the Parojinogs) were summarily executed.it's not good that the Senate investigate every police operation", he said.

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

A spokesman for the Parojinogs has a different story on what happened during the police raid.

The vice mayor was arrested on charges of illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs.

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Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, Ozamiz City police director, said the elder Parojinog was one of the government's high-value targets and had been named by Duterte as among the politicians involved in "narcopolitics", although the former mayor had repeatedly denied this accusation.

The complaint said the killing of 9,400 people began in 1988 when Duterte was mayor of the southern city of Davao and has lasted throughout his presidency.

In November, Rolando R. Espinosa, Sr., mayor of Albuera town, was killed during a night-time raid in a provincial jail.

The Parojinog family was among those named by President Duterte in his list of government officials involved in the drug trade past year.

Mr Parojinog's brother was also killed in the dawn raid in Ozamiz.

"Police were serving a search warrant when the security guards of the mayor fired at them, so our policemen retaliated", regional spokesman Superintendent Lemuel Gonda said.

Police say they have killed suspects only in self defense and deny involvement in a spree of killings of drug users by mysterious vigilantes.

"If he found out you are using or selling shabu, you will get a mouthful from him", a relative said, saying he was so strict when it comes to illegal drugs' use and trade.

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