At least two senators on Monday questioned the serving of search warrants on the Parojinogs’ residences before dawn Sunday, shortly before Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others were killed in the drug raid.
In a television interview, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said under the rules of court and the police manual of the Philippine National Police (PNP), search warrants should be served during day time.
"In fact, there is a separate provision on searches and seizure alone; to put a premium on how important this issue or this thing is,” Escudero, also a lawyer, pointed out.
The senator cited Article III, Section of the 1987 Constitution which guarantees "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable."
The said provision also states that "no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall be issued except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized."
Escudero also cited a December 2000 case where the Supreme Court (SC) ruled upon the "reasonableness" of the serving of a warrant at night in Parañaque City.
“The Supreme Court said, it was reasonable because in urban centers, in the city people are usually still awake....This is a totally different case to serve at 2:30 in the morning,” he said.
Escudero said cases are exempted if the court or judge that issued the warrant says that it can be served during the day time or night time “but always still subject to reasonableness.”
Misamis Occidental PPO chief Senior Superintendent Jaysen de Guzman earlier said that police officers were met by a volley of gunfire as they were about to enter the Parojinogs' compound at around 2:30 a.m.
The police authorities had six warrants to search the houses of Mayor Parojinog, his daughter Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez, Board Member Parojinog, City Councilor Ricardo Parojinog, and one other for loose firearms.
Ozamiz City police director Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido said they also recovered more than one kilogram of shabu from the residences of Mayor Parojinog and Vice Mayor Echavez.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said the raid was “unrealistic,” noting that the warrants were served past 2 a.m.
"Serving warrants of arrest past 2 a.m., disabling the CCTVs prior to entering the premises, all 15 suspected drug lords at the scene of the crime and their 'armed to the teeth' bodyguards are killed, no injuries or casualties on the side of the PNP. Hindi makatotohanan. Puwedeng gawin ito kaninuman,” Pangilinan said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, for his part, said there was “nothing irregular” in the timing of the raid.
"When I was still in the law enforcement service, talagang we’d rather operate pag madaling araw para element of surprise yun eh,” Lacson, former PNP chief, said.
"Especially kung ang information armed group ang ire-raid mo, teka muna, susugod ba ako ng araw? Kitang-kita naman ako...At this point sabi ko nga wala akong nakitang irregular,” he added.
Lacson, who chairs the Senate public order committee, said he sees no need for the legislative body to conduct an investigation on the incident. —KBK, GMA News