Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Sunday he had ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to find out if former Ozamiz Councilor Ricardo Parojinog was already ill before he was transferred to his province.
Parojinog was found dead inside his detention cell last Friday several hours before he was to testify on the criminal charges against him.
Guevarra says NBI officer-in-charge Eric Distor will send a team to verify reports that Parojinog, 57, was already showing signs he was not feeling well when he arrived in Ozamiz City in Misamis Oriental last Thursday.
“I have already discussed this matter with [NBI] OIC Chief Distor. We agreed to let our field operatives do some initial fact-checking,” Guevarra said in a text message to reporters.
He says the NBI team will focus on gathering information on the state of Parojinog’s health before he was found lifeless inside his detention cell while under police custody around 6 a.m. on Sept. 4.
“The NBI will find out if Parojinog had already been sick before he was transferred, and what his condition was upon his actual arrival in Ozamis,” Guevarra said.
He says he will leave it to Distor to decide which NBI unit will be mobilized for the assignment.
Parojinog was said to have belonged to a family that founded the infamous Kuratong Baleleng Gang that changed from a criminal organization into a political clan.
He was the younger brother of former Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., who was killed in a police raid along with his wife and 13 other people in July 2017.
In July 2018, Parojinog was deported from Taiwan where he had fled after a police raid. He had been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame and was only transferred to the Ozamiz City Police Station on Sept. 3 to attend a hearing on the criminal charges he was facing related to illegal drugs, murder and illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives.