Ex-Lakas officials turned LP bets complain of harassment
By Tito N. Fiel
TUDELA, MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL—Former allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who defected to the Liberal Party to support its standard-bearer, Sen. Benigno Aquino III, are decrying the alleged systematic harassment by Lakas politicians.
The harassment has intensified as the campaign period heats up, according to Gov. Loreto “Leo” Ocampos, president of the League of Governors of the Philippines.
Ocampos earlier said that former Lakas stalwarts who joined the opposition were being prevented from conducting village meetings by politicians identified with the ruling coalition.
But the harassment became more serious with Saturday’s raid on the house of board member Roland Romero, said Ocampos, the LP gubernatorial candidate.
Romero is the LP vice mayoral candidate in Ozamiz City.
Ocampos said that on Saturday morning, Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog of Lakas joined the raid by about 40 members of the Criminal Intelligence and Detection Group (CIDG).
At least two firearms, which LP sources described as government-owned, were seized from Romero’s house but he was not arrested after another official took custody of him.
Romero is the chair of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s (provincial council’s) peace and order committee.
“I believe that the unlawful raid on the house of board member Romero was under the influence of Lakas-Kampi Congresswoman Hermie Ramiro, who is running for governor, and through the [instigation] of her party mate and Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog,” Ocampos said.
Parojinog’s daughter, Nova Princess Echavez, is the Lakas mayoral candidate in Ozamiz City.
Parojinog has been mum on the allegations but people close to him said he did not want to comment because the raid was a police matter.
LP mayoral candidate Constancia Lim, also Romero’s legal counsel, said she was present during the raid and saw Parojinog in a Toyota pickup truck.
“Mayor Parojinog was riding a Toyota truck during the raid and suddenly disappeared during the negotiations between the raiders, me and Governor Ocampos,” she said.
Defective search warrant
Lim said her group had asked the CIDG to temporarily suspend the conduct of the search on Romero’s house.
“The search warrant was issued by a certain Judge Achas of Ozamiz City,” she said.
She said her group argued with the raiding team that the search warrant was defective because it contradicted laws which say that warrants should specify the location of suspected illegal firearms.
The timing of the warrant was also defective because it was a Saturday, Lim said.