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Drugs, guns presented at inquest of Parojinog siblings.

The daughter and son of slain Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. underwent inquest proceedings on charges of illegal possession of fire-arms and narcotics on Tuesday, two days after a predawn police raid in which their father and mother and 13 others were killed.

Several firearms and about a kilo of 'shabu' (crystal meth) were presented as evidence by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) against Nova Parojinog-Echaves, the vice mayor of Ozamiz, and her brother, Reynaldo Jr., during inquest proceedings at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

The panel of prosecutors headed by Senior State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera conducted the inquest after determining that the arrest of the Parojinog siblings was valid.

Navera said the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors had yet to recommend any criminal charge against the Parojinog siblings.

'The prosecutors are still drafting the resolution. We have only concluded the inquest, but there is no finding of probable cause yet,' Navera told the Inquirer.

He said the panel was to issue a resolution today.

'We didn't waive our right'

Ferdinand Topacio, lawyer of the accused, noted that the 36-hour period within which crime suspects could be detained without charges had lapsed and that he was considering filing an arbitrary detention case against the CIDG.

'We did not waive our right to a preliminary investigation so the case was deemed submitted for resolution based on the evidence submitted by the CIDG,' Topacio said.

He said his clients were charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition as well as possession of illegal drugs.

'We are seriously considering filing a case against the CIDG for the 36-hour detention without inquest and no charges,' he stressed, pointing out that while the CIDG had been citing 'special circumstances' in the police operations against the Parojinogs there was no reason for the delay in the inquest.

Topacio said that the Parojinogs were already at the PNP Custodial Center as early as 9 a.m. on Monday so there was no justification for the delay in the inquest, which should have been done before 6 p.m. on Monday.

According to Topacio, it was only during the inquest proceedings that they were given copies of the search warrant served on the Parojinogs, the affidavit of the arresting officers, as well as an inventory of the items allegedly seized from the Parojinogs' compound.

The inquest lasted an hour.

'The CIDG had to ask for breaks to present all their evidence. It's not a formal submission but they had to present everything they had against the respondents,' Topacio said.

'In an inquest, you have to present all the evidence,' he emphasized.

After the inquest, members of the CIDG were seen leaving the PNP Custodial Center with a tote bag, the long muzzle of a rifle jutting out, and an automatic rifle with tape wound around the grip.

Topacio said the inquest was not the proper forum to question the manner by which the search warrant was served.

He said he expected the prosecutors to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

'In fairness to senior state prosecutor Navera, he assured us it would be resolved with dispatch,' Topacio said, quoting the DOJ prosecutor.

The ruling of the panel that an inquest was proper for the case of the Parojinogs as well as the affirmation of the validity of the arrest 'will be the basis of their continued detention,' Topacio said.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Aug 2, 2017
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