NEWS

Filipino Mayor Reynaldo Parojiniog And His Family Shot Dead During Drug Raids

He isn't the first mayor to be killed.

07/31/2017 15:40 EDT | Updated 07/31/2017 15:45 EDT
NurPhoto via Getty Images
More than 7,000 people have died in extrajudicial killings in the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power.

A Philippines mayor accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of links to the drug trade is one of at least a dozen people to be shot dead during police raids.

The mayor of Ozamiz city, Reynaldo Parojinog, was killed along with his wife and five others during an early morning shootout with police at his home on Sunday.

Five more people were killed in a second raid on another property owned by the family.

According to the Philippine National Police, Parojinog was killed when his security personnel shot at drug enforcement officers, who had come to arrest him and three other members of his family.

His daughter, Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez — who is also the Deputy Mayor of Ozamiz — was among those arrested and his brother, Octavio Parojinog, was also killed.

A spokesman for the Parojinogs denied that there had been any exchange of fire and claimed the mayor's security guards did not fire a shot, according to the Washington Post.

He is the third mayor to have been killed in the past year in President Duterte's brutal war on drugs.

NOEL CELIS via Getty Images
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told the Philippines' Congress last week that those involved in drug trafficking would face "either jail or hell".

Both Parojinog and his daughter were on a list of 150 public officials who Duterte publicly accused of being involved in the drug trade.

The city of Ozamiz is on the southern island of Mindanao, where martial law was extended earlier this month. Duterte says the extension is necessary to deal with a violent insurgency in Marawi, which is being occupied by Islamic State-linked militants, but his critics claim the move is part of a wider power grab.

Martial law allows for the military to be used to enforce power and for people to be detained for long periods without charge.

On the same day as the killings, the Philippines National Police boasted of its anti-drugs record on social media. It claimed s almost 2,500 kilograms of methamphetamine (known locally as shabu) had been seized since President Duterte came to power just over a year ago.

They put the number killed in anti-drug operations across the country at 3,451, but the number of dead is believed to be much higher. Shootings on the streets are a daily occurrence in Manila and children as young as four have been caught in the crossfire.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters
Almost 100,000 suspected drug traffickers have been arrested since July last year, according to the Philippines police, resulting in overflowing prisons.

The tough-talking Duterte ran a successful election campaign on a radical law-and-order platform, promising to eradicate the country's drug problem through any means necessary.

At least 7,000 people have been killed in extrajudicial killings by authorities and vigilantes and the nation's prisons are overflowing with accused drug traffickers.

It has led to condemnation from international leaders and human rights groups over his shoot-first attitude to suspected drug traffickers and spurred calls for a United Nations-led international investigation. But the President maintains widespread popular support at home for his harsh -- and frequently deadly -- approach.

Just last week, Duterte reaffirmed his intention to continue his war on drugs during his annual speech to congress.

"I have resolved that no matter how long it takes, the fight against illegal drugs will continue because it is the root cause of suffering," he told Congress.

He claimed that those involved in drug trafficking would face "either jail or hell".