OZAMIZ CITY (MindaNews/31 July) — The Philippine flag was flown at half-mast on Monday to mark the observance of official mourning for the death of Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., who was killed along with his wife, brother and 12 other persons in simultaneous predawn raids in their houses Sunday.
Employees skipped the regular flag-raising rites at City Hall every Monday during which either the mayor or vice mayor would issue some announcements.
Employees went on with their routines but the incident last Sunday filled much of the conversations among themselves.
The bodies of Parojinog Sr., his wife Susan and younger brother Octavio Jr. underwent autopsy early morning Monday at the Gamalinda Funeral Homes. They will be transferred to a public square in Barangay San Roque, just near their house, for public viewing and wake.
Their wake is set to be transferred to City Hall two days prior to a scheduled interment which is not yet set.
Employees remember Parojinog Sr. for his mild-mannered and soft-spoken stance, “easy to approach” and “being helpful to those in need.”
“He seemingly does not know how to say no,” Julius, a motorcab driver said. “I am more comfortable approaching him than his children and brothers.”
One employee recalled Parojinog Sr. as joking once about his salary as mayor sometimes going to defray for financial assistance to constituents because local government funds could not suffice.
He won a fifth term as mayor in 2016. He first entered politics in 1998, running for village chief of Barangay Santa Cruz. He went on to become chair of the Liga ng mga Barangay, catapulting him to the City Council as ex-officio member.
He used this position to consolidate his political base that gave him victory as mayor in 2001.
After his term expired in 2010, he ran but lost in the race for a congressional seat. He bounced back by retaking the post of village chief in elections that same year, hence, also back as Liga ng mga Barangay chair.
Parojinog’s wife Susan worked for the local government. At the time of her death, she held a division chief post in the City Treasurer’s Office.
At the time of his death, Octavio Jr. was serving a term as provincial board member. Prior to this, he had a one-term stint as city councilor.
The death of Parojinog set off a leadership succession in the local government. The vice mayor, Parojinog’s daughter Nova Princess, could not assume the post as she was arrested Sunday after police raiders allegedly found firearms and shabu packs in her house.
The first councilor, Parojinog’s younger brother Ricardo has not been seen in the city. This makes the second councilor eligible for succession.
As of Monday afternoon, several members of the City Council accompanied the city’s barangay leaders in a meeting with Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, local police chief, who gave them 24 hours to turn over firearms and other contraband they held.
Espenido told MindaNews he is serious with the deadline.
“I know some of them are keeping firearms beyond what is allowed by law. They have turned over the ones issued to them by the local government, but I want to see and recover the illegal ones,” he said.
President Rodrigo had publicly named Parojinog Sr. as a narco-politician. (Ryan Rosauro/for MindaNews)