Former Ozamiz City councilor Ricardo "Ardot" Parojinog was found dead inside his detention cell on Friday morning, hours before he was supposed to attend a court hearing in connection with a string of charges, including murder, filed against him.
According to Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Police Brigadier General Bernard Banac, Parojinog's detention cell was at the Ozamiz City Police Station.
Banac said there is no indication of violence on Parojinog's body.
Because of this, PNP chief Police General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan directed an investigation on Parojinog's death.
Cascolan ordered Police Regional Office X Police Brigadier General Rolando Anduyan to immediately place the Ozamiz City Police chief and all the night shift police personnel of the station under restrictive custody pending investigation on the incident.
He also directed the PNP Custodial Center security team under Police Lieutenant Colonel Jiger Noceda to be placed under probe to determine their liabilities.
The teams of Crime Laboratory SOCO and Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit in Misamis Occidental are already probing the incident, Banac said.
In a radio interview, Police Regional Office X chief Police Brigadier General Rolando Anduyan said Parojinog was in low spirits when he arrived at the Ozamiz City Police Station on Thursday.
Anduyan told Dobol B sa News TV that part of the probe on Parojinog's death was to determine if he had prior illness.
"Hanggang ngayon iniimbestigahan natin. Baka mamaya anong sakit 'yung mayroon siya hindi natin alam kasi nanggaling siya diyan sa Manila," Anduyan said.
"Kasama sa imbestigasyon natin 'yan. 'Yun din ang tinatanong ko sa mga tao natin, inaalagaan din natin 'yan kasi medyo kilalang tao 'yan. Hindi natin alam kung nalulungkot siya siyempre sa kaso na inaabot niya, medyo matamlay noong dumating..." he aded.
Parojinog is the brother of the late city mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., whom President Rodrigo Duterte had accused of involvement in the illegal drug trade. The mayor was killed during a bloody police raid in July 2017.
Aside from Reynaldo Parojinog, also killed in the raid were his wife and 13 others. Their children, Nova Princess and Reynaldo Jr., were arrested.
Ardot Parojinog was deported to the Philippines in July 2018, two months after his arrest in Taiwan where he fled following the police raid on the clan's compound.
Duterte, who has accused the Parojinog family of involvement in the illegal drug trade, has offered a P5-million bounty for Ardot's arrest, describing him as "gago."
Banac said Parojinog was supposed to attend a hearing on Friday, noting that his travel was covered by a court order. He was facing charges for murder, illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of explosives. —KBK/RSJ, GMA News