And Finally, Politics
They had the money, the firepower, and they commanded both fear and respect among the people. All they needed was a stake in politics, and the family would become invincible, or so they thought.
After Ongkoy was killed, Nato was arrested in Cainta, Rizal, in 1993; his brothers, Aldong and Ricardo, surrendered, and were charged with assault and a long list of bank robberies. The cases were dismissed due to lack of evidence.
Nato’s defeat in the 1998 Congressional elections did not dishearten him. He pursued a career in politics and became a provincial board member of Misamis Occidental in 2001.
On the other hand, Aldong, a high school dropout, was elected barangay chairperson in 1997. He later became president of the federated Association of Barangay Councils. At some point, he also became chairman of the Misamis Occidental Movement for Peace and Order.
Aldong and Nato ran and won during the 2001 elections: Reynaldo as Ozamiz City mayor and Renato as Misamis Occidental provincial board member.
As they climbed the political ladder, some of their past cases came back to haunt the family. One of these was the May 18, 1995 incident, which left 11 members of the syndicate dead. Police officials claimed that the gang members had been killed in a shootout, but several witnesses, including journalists, testified that an execution had taken place: not only were the gang members handcuffed, their van was also riddled in bullets.
The case was investigated by three Senate committees, which concluded that those who died were defenseless because none of them fired a gun, and that appropriate charges of homicide or murder should be filed against those who were involved in the operation. This included then PNP Chief Superintendents Panfilo Lacson, Jewel Canson, and Romeo Acop, Senior Superintendent Francisco Zubia, and 15 other officers.
This case went on for years, and the murder case was finally dismissed on November 12, 2003 due to lack of probable cause. The Supreme Court later on upheld the earlier ruling that finally cleared Lacson and fellow officers of the alleged rubout. This case proved that maybe the Kuratong Baleleng wasn’t untouchable after all.
On February 15, 2002, Nato was in Manila to attend a conference. As he stepped inside a taxi, a lone gunman armed with at least two caliber .45 pistols appeared. He shot Nato, who died a few hours later in the hospital. Although his brothers claimed that political motivations spurred the killing, this didn’t really stop the rest of the family from pursuing politics.
In the 2000s, members of the Parojinog family—now including Aldong's children—ran and won seats in the city and provincial government. This includes Aldong’s children. They had the support of their constituents, despite allegations of corruption and drug trafficking. Mayor Aldong and his daughter, Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog, were accused of awarding city contracts to their own construction company in 2008, leading to an arrest order issued in 2016. The following year, the case was junked by the Sandiganbayan.
In August 2016, Aldong, Ricardo, and Nova Princess were included in the list of government officials linked to the drug trade that was made public by President Rodrigo Duterte. The family vehemently denied this, though Aldong admitted that Nova Princess was the partner of known drug convict and Bilibid inmate Herbert Colango.
And like in any Mafia movie, the family’s story reached a bloody end. On July 30, 2017, at 2:30 a.m. members of the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Misamis Occidental Police Provincial Office and the Ozamiz City Police Station raided the Parojinog residence. They had warrants for Aldong, Nova Princess, and several other family members.
The police said that they were welcomed with gunshots by the Parojinog’s security personnel and they retaliated. At the end of the encounter, 15 people were dead, including the Mayor himself, his wife, Susan, his brother, Board Member Octavio Parojinog Jr., and sister Mona. Parojinog’s camp deny ever firing. Had they not died, the mayor and his brother would have finished their terms in 2019.
The police also raided several other Parojinog properties, which included the house of Nova Princess and two farms. In these other raids, thirteen more people were killed and a total of P1.4 million were retrieved. Among those confiscated were grenade bags, firearms, cash, and bags of suspected shabu.
The Parajinogs were in the news again when Nova Princess and her brother, Reynaldo "Dodo" Parojinog, Jr., were arrested and flown Manila to face charges for illegal possesion of firearms and explosives in July 2017. This year, in May 2018, Aldong's younger brother, Ricardo, was also found hiding in Taiwan; he was arrested and flown back to the Philippines. If this were a mob movie, the credits would already be rolling. It seems that the sun is setting for the powerful Parojinog clan, but this may not be the least we hear from them.
The Parojinogs, Brothers In Crime
The Making Of A Mindanao Mafia
Kuratong Baleleng Massacre Revisited
Who Are The Parojinogs of Ozamiz
The Kuratong Baleleng Gang: The Untouchables
From Kuratong Baleleng to elected gov't: The rise of the Parojinogs
How Parojinogs hold seats of power in Ozamiz City
SC upholds dismissal of Lacson's Kuratong Baleleng case
Ozamiz City Mayor, 14 others killed in police raids