Friday, September 1, 2017

Espenido to Ozamiznons: it’s not yet goodbye

OZAMIZ CITY—Police C/Insp. Jovie Espenido says he’s not yet making a leave of tearful goodbye to residents as he hints there is still no gesture of parting from him.

Espenido was formally designated as the new officer-in-charge of the Iloilo City Police Office effective Wednesday, Aug. 29, by PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa, reports reaching The Philippine Preview said.

The PNP chief said he had second thoughts about assigning Espenido to Iloilo, citing several protests from Ozamiznons about reassigning his well-decorated policeman.

De la Rosa added that If he had his way, he’d prefer Espenido to remain in Ozamiz to resolve the [drug] problem here since “there is still unfinished business” and that “the situation in Ozamiz is not yet totally stable.”

It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte himself announced during last Monday’s commemoration of the National Heroes’ Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City that he is reassigning Espenido to Iloilo City.

Meanwhile, a report from Rappler.com says Espenido is given an officer-in-charge position because his current rank is not in keeping with requirements for a city as big as Iloilo.

Rappler explained that Espenido cannot be Iloilo City’s chief of police because his rank is too low for a major city like Iloilo, in fact, it’s two ranks below the minimum requirement.

The 2012 PNP confidential memorandum, National Police Commission (Napolcom) rules of the ranks assert that a city director must at least be a Senior Superintendent to qualify to head a highly urbanized city such as Iloilo. Ozamiz City, Espenido's previous assignment, is only a component city, allowing him to lead its cops without question, it continued.

Consequently, Espenido was named the “Officer-in-charge (OIC)” of the Iloilo City PNP instead as Police Chief. He was not even given the designation of acting police chief finishing as that also requires him to be a Senior Superintendent.

De la Rosa has declared that Espenido’s case may have “an exemption” because it’s a presidential directive.

As for Espenido, he is requesting Ozamiznons to support his fight, especially in this stage of completing his mission in the city in reducing all forms of criminalities caused by illegal drugs.

The police chief told members of the Misamis Occidental Media Practitioners Society (MOMPS) he will still continue as the city’s PNP head to run after the allies of the Parojinog family.

Espenido said he wanted to stay in the city as police chief if not of Duterte’s pronouncement reassigning him in Iloilo City.

He also called residents to help the PNP by enlisting in the Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN) to hasten the arrest of Councilor Ricardo “Ardot” Parojinog, Manuel “Maning” Francisco, Marlon "Ailon" Parojinog and Jimmy Chan to name a few.

The BIN is a force multiplier and, in effect, is part of the police force, although BIN members are only limited to giving information to barangay tanods--the so-called police agents--who would then relay the information to the police.

Members of the BIN are allowed to carry guns provided they must have a permit to carry the same.

Espenido explained the BIN will surely help chase the other members of the Parojinog group and said those who want to sign up in the BIN may visit the PNP office.

He ended his meeting with the local media by telling eager residents to be calm and keep on praying for peace to lead in the city. (MICHAEL MEDINA, WITH REPORTS FROM EXPEDITA ROXAS)


Friday, August 18, 2017

Girlet says ‘taking charge not on her mind’ but motivation stirred

OZAMIZ CITY—Acting Mayor Irene “Girlet” Luansing disclosed that she was dragging her feet in taking on the reins as the city’s chief executive but then remembered on her motivation to serve the people.

Luansing’s words were said during her welcome address to delegates of the 64th National Assembly of Diocesan Mission Directors opening ceremony last Aug. 14, 2017 at the Royal Garden Hotel, this city.

In her speech, she recalled the recent July 30 occurrence which affected the city in all its facets and put residents in quandary and “emotionally charged” them over the unpleasant incident.

“The local government’s tenacity for handling a delicate transition was also (tested) to its very core. With the death of our mayor, the vice mayor assumed office as our local chief executive. But she was not able to serve since she was under detention, and our first councilor has been on a prolonged leave of absence. This puts me in the line of succession, being second councilor,” Luansing said.

She described her new responsibility as mayor as an extraordinary switches of roles as “all those in the immediate line of succession were not in the position to discharge the duties of the office.”

She admitted that she also did not have the immediate way of thinking of taking over as chief executive because she was “drifting towards a semi-retirement mode, hoping to join her children in the United States and enjoy life as she could, free from the cares of local governance.”

And yet, she was thrust with her new responsibility and it took a while for her to come to the reality that she is to take control of the entire city, she added.

“Until now, I am still not used to being called ‘Mayor’ or ‘Mayora.’ I have been comfortable, only, to being called a councilor,” she declared.

“Upon deep personal reflection and prayer, I was guided back to my main motivation in running for public office: offering myself for the achievement of the public good.” Luansing then said.

“This, I surmise, was a vocation God chose for me, affirmed by the people’s trust expressed at every election since 2001. Hence, I decided to respond to the call of duty. I left to God the rest. And so far, we have been doing well in the transition period.”

She then asked the delegates for their constant prayers for God to continue to bestow her personal strength to overcome the challenge of start over the drive of public service, which is the principal reason public officials are given political power.

“May my local government team and I be instruments of God’s promise and God’s will for achieving a better image for the city, and better lives for its people,” she ended. (MICHAEL MEDINA)


Duterte awards Ozamiz cops during visit

OZAMIZ CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte personally visited the city yesterday, Aug. 17, and met with residents and local policemen. He came with PNP Dir. General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

The president’s visit centered on his talk to troops, recognizing the bravery of the seven police officers who participated in the operation against the family of Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and inspection of confiscated firearms.

It is also a day after the burial of the slain mayor and 3 other family members.

Last August 15, during his speech in the 116th Police Service Anniversary in Camp Crame, Duterte promised that he will visit Ozamiz but will not announce when.

Duterte awarded ‘Medalya ng Kadakilaan’ medals to Police Provincial Director Sr/Supt. Jaysen De Guzman, P/Supt. John Francis Encinareal and C/Insp. Jovie Espenido, city police chief.

Chief Insp. Berlito De Guzman, PO3 Sherwin Paul Seraspe and PO1 Benzon Gonzales were also given recognition.

In his speech, the president explained that Parojinog’s death is “a lesson to other suspected narco-politicians.” Parojinog is one of the mayors named in Duterte’s narco list.

Duterte likewise renewed his commitment to the police force of his continuing support and repeated his message of unrelenting effort to eliminate illegal drugs in the country, highlighting its ill effects to the local politics.

"I’m here to congratulate you. Mabuhay ang PNP! "Mabuhay ang nagsakripisyo ug katong mga taga-Ozamiz nga nitindog sa tyranny."

Duterte made clear that political dynasties connected to drugs do not give the people free will to choose during elections and instead give them false hopes through patronage.

"Look what happens if drug is allowed to flourish in the place. There is narco-politics. May election ba dito na malinis?" the President asked.

The President said this is what is happening in Ozamiz City as it is being ruled by the Parojinogs, adding he expects narco-politics to stay for some time, hoping however that he can free the country from narco-politics before he steps down from power.

Duterte then promised policemen of his full support such as hospitalization of the members of their families and educational needs of their children.

"What can I assure you is meron nang mga benefits but before I go out as President, meron na akong seed money na 20 billion. Kung makuha ko ’yang amount na 50 billion, hindi na ninyo maubos ‘yan, ang interes lang," he said of his planned educational trust fund.

Policemen can also expect his full support whenever they face prosecution as long as they do their duties, the President said.

But for cops involved in the drug trade, the president said his P2 million reward stands for their capture.

Espenido then presented the president more than 300 high and low powered firearms including a 60mm machine gun, m16 rifles, shotguns and handguns, among others, surrendered by city gun owners and village chieftains.

Duterte completed his trip in the city with a closed door meeting with Acting Mayor Irene Girlet Luansing. (MICHAEL MEDINA)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Nova asks Ozamiznons ‘not to forget Papa Aldong’

OZAMIZ CITY—With a tone of expressive grief and a term of endearment, Vice Mayor Nova Echavez said in her eulogy that the death of her father may leave an experience of sorrow to their family and supporters but by and large it will make them wiser.

Echavez’s parents—the late Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and wife, Susan, were buried, Wednesday morning, Aug.16 along with the mayor’s brother, Board Member Octavio Parojinog Jr. and sister Mona.

The four were among the 16 persons killed during a drug raid in the homes of the Parojinogs in Barangay Sta. Cruz last July 30, 2017.

Echavez’s eulogy was read after the funeral mass at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral officiated by Archbishop Jesus Dosado and attended by thousands of relatives, friends and supporters.

The vice mayor is still detained in Camp Crame with her brother Dodo for illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs.

In her tribute, Echavez thanked family relatives, neighbors, the academe, businessmen politicians and volunteers for their help to the family in the time of distress.

She mentioned the name of Gov. Herminia Ramiro and told her: “Nawad-an ka og usa ka tunay na kakampi, tunay na kaalyado og tunay na anak (in politics).”

She also reminded city councilors it was her father Aldong who showed them the way to politics.

To the barangay captains, she said: “Nasayod ko sa inyong giagian karon nga pagpanghadlok ug mga pang-gulat nga gipahamtang dinha ninyo. Atoa lang iampo ug timan-an nga ang insakto ug kamatuoran walay ikabalaka.”

To those present, she said, “Nasayod ang tanan kinsa si Papa; iyang pagkamapaubsanon nga dili gani motingog sa TV bisan unsaon og pagdaot.”

“Nasayod ang tanan nga dili salbahis nga tawo akong amahan. Wala siyay gidaog-daog; siya pa gani ang gi-traydor ilabina sa iyang mga natabangan sa politika. Hinaot nga dili nato kalimtan ang nahimo sa akong amahan.” (MICHAEL MEDINA)   

Parojinog couple buried Wednesday

OZAMIZ CITY—The late Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr. and his wife, Susan, were buried, Wednesday morning, Aug.16, in the family’s maosoleum inside the Mt. Malindang Memorial Gardens in Bagakay.

Earlier, the scheduled burial for Monday (Aug. 14)  was reset to Wednesday by relatives as they seek a second, private autopsy to determine the circumstances of their death in a police raid two weeks ago after insisting police raiders had committed “overkill.”  It didn't push through however.

Thousands paid their last respects to Parojinog and wife who were buried along with the mayor’s brother, Board Member Octavio Parojinog Jr. and sister Mona.

The four were among the 16 persons killed during a drug raid in the homes of the Parojinogs in Barangay Sta. Cruz last July 30, 2017.

A funeral procession was held 9:00 in the morning from the San Roque basketball court passing Cotta Shrine in Barangay Triunfo to the Immaculate Conception Cathedral where a Requiem mass was held.

Retired Archbishop Jesus A. Dosado celebrated the funeral liturgy which was attended by thousands of friends and supporters who called for justice to the slain family.

Dosado, a close acquaintance of Parojinog, criticized some people who pronounced a bad opinion to the slain mayor for his alleged wrongdoings, while failing to remember his good contributions for the city’s development.

Dosado also called for clear-headedness among residents and to help bring an end to the violence in Ozamiz.

Government workers and residents also joined the funeral march, as school children waved flags on the side-streets.

Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog, who is still detained in Camp Crame with her brother Dodo for illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs, had her eulogy read out during the funeral mass.


The deceased Parojinog family members were finally laid to rest at about 2:45 in the afternoon after a long procession from the cathedral to the cemetery, about 5 kilometers from the city proper. (MICHAEL MEDINA, WITH REPORTS BY BERNALD TECSON SR.)