July 18, 2018, 11:37 pm
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Tale of 2 mayors

THE end came for Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and his wife Susan before dawn of Sunday, at the hands of policemen under Chief Inspector Jovie Espinido, who officially reported the incident as a firefight. 

The circumstances of Parojinog’s death are similar to those of another mayor, Albuera, Leyte’s Rolando Espinosa. It was while search warrants were being served. Both mayors were involved in illegal drugs, with President Duterte himself revealing their names in his priority list of drug lords, the announcement made during the President’s first weeks in office.

Other similarities are the involvement of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the strange coincidence that Espinido was chief of police of both Albuera, and later of Ozamis City, when these deaths occurred; the serving of warrants were done in the wee hours of the morning in both cases, etc.

The most telling is that President Duterte had previously announced his policy that local officials such as mayors, governors and barangay chairmen in the mold of Espinosa and Parojinog deserve to die, and if the police are listening, this amounts to a direct order. 

Surreptitious police operations are blamed by many for the deaths of the two mayors, although as Sen. Panfilo Lacson pointed out, Espinosa’s case was more brazen because he was killed inside a government detention facility. At least, Lacson said, Parojinog died in his home, surrounded by his men who were armed and could have resisted the police. Lacson and other senators are still protesting the return to work of Supt. Marvin Marcos who figured prominently in the Espinosa killing.

Between Parojinog and Espinosa, scores of people such as relatives, lawyers, drivers and bodyguards have died from police operations and other violent causes.

It is sad that the bloody careers of these two mayors are being replicated in other parts of the Philippines, in many places in Mindanao.

The fact that we have, in our political landscape, mayors like Parojinog and Espinosa who are able to get elected because clearly they had the money to spend for voters in any election campaign, is an indication that narco politics has indeed crept in nationwide.

President Duterte was correct at least on this one.
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