‘Shape up’: SoCot Governor urges narco-politicians or face fate of Parojinogs

GENERAL SANTOS CITY– South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes urged local government officials in the province who are allegedly involved in illegal drug-related activities to “shape up” or face the fate of the slain Ozamis City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog.

Fuentes said what happened to Mayor Parojinog, his wife Susan and brother, Misamis Occidental board member Octavio, should serve as a lesson to public officials who are still into illegal drugs.

She said it appears that the government, especially the Philippine National Police (PNP), is really serious in pursuing these personalities and that “the higher your position is, the more attractive you are.”

“If I were you, those who are still hiding something there, come out now and seek help,” she said.

The governor said they should consider the fact that several local officials in the province, including mayors, were previously implicated in illegal drug activities.

Although not officially named by the government, some local officials in the area were reportedly included in the list of “narco-politicians” of President Rodrigo R. Duterte for allegedly “protecting and coddling” drug personalities.

In November last year, Banga Mayor Albert Palencia was arrested following a raid at his home by the Police Regional Office-12’s by the defunct Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (Raidsotg).

No illegal drugs and firearms were recovered but operatives reportedly found a fragmentation grenade. Palencia is currently on bail after being charged with illegal possession of explosives.

In October, Raidsotg operatives arrested Juner Coronado, chair of Barangay Koronadal Proper, and Vicente Yungco Jr., chair of Barangay Poblacion, in Polomolok, South Cotabato, in separate anti-drug operations.

Seized from Yungco, who is president of the Liga ng mga Barangay in South Cotabato and ex-officio member of the provincial board, was a 9-millimeter handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun and an ammunition.

Coronado yielded a fragmentation grenade and three rounds of ammunition.

Another official, Mayor Pablo Matinong of Sto. Nino town, was also implicated but decided to yield to authorities to “clear his name.”

Fuentes said the police have already issued a recommendation clearing Matinong of any involvement in illegal drug activities.

“I’m very happy that he is now cleared and there were no grounds to implicate him,” she said.

In line with the continuing campaign against illegal drugs, the governor urged barangay chairs to continually monitor the possible involvement of their constituents.

She specifically cited those who had surfaced and surrendered voluntarily in line with the PNP’s “Oplan Tokhang.”

“We have to help each other because it’s better to see these people in jail than collect bodies in the streets,” she added.(AVE/PNA)