MANILA, Philippines – Ozamiz City has a new mayor and vice mayor.
Councilors Irene Luansing and Michael Tagal will be acting mayor and vice mayor, respectively, Catalino Uy, officer-in-charge of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), said yesterday.
Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog was killed while Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echaves was arrested in a series of pre-dawn raids on the houses of the family in San Roque Lawis on Sunday.
Cuy said Luansing and Tagal, who obtained the second and third highest number of votes, respectively, in the 2016 elections, will take over because Councilor Octavio Parojinog Jr., who garnered the highest number of votes, also died in the raids.
“By operations of the law, the top councilor will take over. But the first councilor is also dead…The council will convene to make the transition of power official,” said Cuy.
DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero said the rule on succession would apply in the case of Ozamiz.
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Although Nova Princess is physically fit to function, she is barred from assuming the post held by her father, Panadero said.
“At the end of the day she will contest the decision, but she is incapacitated. She cannot discharge her functions. There is a court decision on that. We told the DILG officers in Ozamiz to facilitate the transition,” Panadero said.
The legal officer of Ozamiz earlier said Nova Princess could still function as mayor because she has not yet been convicted of any crime.
Armed with six search warrants, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and local police teams raided the houses of the Parojinogs for loose firearms and illegal drugs. Police said they were met with a volley of fire, triggering a shootout.
Aside from Parojinog and his wife Susan, his brother Octavio and sister Mona were among the 13 other people killed in the police operation.
Nova Princess and his brother Reynaldo Jr. are being held at Camp Crame. Their lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, questioned their detention, saying he would raise the issue at the proper forum.
Police have yet to release the official report on the identity of the other fatalities, those arrested and the items seized during the raids.