While he was still alive, Ozamis mayor Reynaldo Parojinog denied ever dabbling in illicit drug trade. He, however, never denied that he maintains a private army. And surely, the Parojinogs never denied or even made amends when someone reminds them of their sordid criminally-laden past.
Who are the Parojinogs, and why, after all these years, it was only now that state forces went after them?
The Parojinog name became synonymous with bank robberies, kidnap for ransom and extortion activities in the early nineties. The family’s patriarch, Octavio, was just an ordinary civilian military asset who helped create the Kuratong Baleleng, an anti-insurgency force that engaged the New People’s Army in Mindanao, specifically Misamis, and the Zamboanga peninsula. Through the help of the AFP, the Parojinogs led the Kuratong Balelengs in killing activists and NPA fighters.
In 1988, the Kuratong name got national attention when the group was positively identified as the ones responsible for a series of bank robberies in Metro Manila. They got extremely notorious when PNP operatives led by then Colonel Ping Lacson fought them in an alleged shootout which killed most of the gang’s members. Lacson and his police associates have since been exonerated by the Supreme Court in this celebrated case.
Since then, the Parojinogs reportedly disengaged in Metro Manila and limited their operations in Mindanao. In 1997, the Parojinogs went into politics and became the leading political force in Misamis Occidental.
With their deaths, the Parojinogs would be sending the names of their close associates to their graves. Many politicians, and that includes those who ran for public office, went and became friends with the Parojinogs. The family reportedly acted as an electoral influencer by using their private army in pressuring voters to vote for them and their candidates.
How many politicians are involved and within the Parojinog’s drug circle? We shall soon find out.