MANILA, July 31 — The inquest proceedings of Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez and her brother, Reynaldo Jr., has been moved on Tuesday to be held at Camp Crame, Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon said on Monday.
Fadullon said he has been informed by members of the PNP-CIDG to reschedule the inquest proceeding at 1 p.m. Tuesday in Camp Crame.
Echavez and her brother were supposed to be brought to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Monday afternoon for inquest on charges of drug possession and illegal possession of firearms.
For his part, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, legal counsel of Echavez said they will ask for her release after the police failed to file criminal charges against her within the prescribed period.
“Ayon sa batas, dapat i-charge mo [Under the law, you have to file charges] within 36 hours otherwise she should be set free, so we will demand that,” Topacio told reporters, who arrived at the DOJ for the supposed inquest proceedings.
An inquest proceeding is conducted when the suspect has been arrested without warrant. The suspects will be informed of the allegations against them and they will have the option to sign a waiver of detention under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code and undergo preliminary investigation.
Article 125 provides for the period where a suspect has to be delivered to proper judicial authorities — 12 hours for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; 18 hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent; 36 hours, for crimes, or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent.
If, however, the person was subjected to an inquest investigation before the lapse of any of these periods, then some important matters must be taken into account.
Topacio said based on their information, the arrest was made by the authorities at 6 in the morning of Sunday and counting the 36 hours would mean 6 p.m. of Monday, July 31, 2017.
We will now insist na mapalaya yung aking cliente na si Vice Mayor Parojinog. Ayon sa batas, dapat i-charge mo within 36 hours. Otherwise, she should be set free. We will demand that, and pag ayaw ng pulis, we will have to file the necessary charges upon consultation with the other lawyers,” Topacio noted.
“As of now, I’m only representing Vice Mayor Parojinog. Iko-confirm natin kung ang arrest ay 6 a.m. ng Sunday at bibilangin natin from there,” he added.
Topacio said they still need to confirm if the arrest was made at 6 in the morning of Sunday.
“That is why we are asking for a copy of the search warrant, the affidavit of arrest but they [the police] has not yet given us any of the documents that we have been asking,” Topacio lamented.
Topacio also questioned the circumstances of the arrest made by the police in a raid conducted early morning Sunday that led to the death of her father Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, her mother Susan and 13 others.
He said the PNP has not given them a copy of the search warrant used by the police in conducting the raid.
Topacio explained that as a general rule, the warrant must be served during day time.
Echavez and her brother, Reynaldo Jr., have arrived at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City at 10:30 a.m. Monday.
The siblings left Ozamiz around 7 a.m. aboard a Philippine Air Lines flight and arrived at NAIA Terminal 3 around 8:45 a.m.
Police said about PHP1.4 million in cash, half a kilo of suspected shabu and firearms were recovered from the vice mayor’s home.
Mayor Parojinog, the man tagged in Kuratong Baleleng-led crimes, smuggling and drug trafficking, was killed during the raid after his security personnel opened fire on the police operatives who were about to effect the search warrants for the alleged presence of illegal drugs and unlicensed firearms in their house in San Roque Lawis, Ozamiz City.
The late mayor was earlier named by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the country’s drug-lords and narco-politicians.
As this develops, PNP head Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said more narco-politicians will be tracked down and neutralized by the police.