By Jeffrey Damicog
State prosecutors have sought before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) the transfer of former Ozamis City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez to a jail in Taguig City so that she will no longer receive special treatment at the detention facility of the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
“The People now seek the kind indulgence of this Honorable Court to issue another Commitment Order, this time directing the transfer, commitment, detention, and custody of the accused Parojinog [to] the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Special Intensive Care Area (SICA) in Bicutan, Taguig City,” read the motion submitted to the QC RTC Branch 95 last Tuesday (Feb. 11).
The motion is signed by Senior State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, Assistant State Prosecutors Josie Christina Dugay, Ethel Rea Suril, and Michael John Humarang; and Prosecution Attorney II Herbert Calvin Abugan.
Parojinog is currently detained at the PNP’s Custodial Center (PNPCC) in Camp Crame while facing a pending case of possession of dangerous drugs under Section 11 of Republic Act No. 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
“To say the least, [the] accused’s continued detention at the PNPCC affords her special treatment as she is subjected to a different set of rules and procedures not afforded to all detainees under the BJMP control,” prosecutors pointed out.
Prosecutors reminded the court that: “The agency vested by law to administer and supervise jail facilities where arrested persons should be committed while waiting or undergoing trial is the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).”
They added that the Supreme Court (SC) also issued Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) Circular No. 76-2010 dated May 31, 2010 which directed “all judges of the Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in the Cities, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts to refrain from issuing orders committing detainees at the PNP Custodial Center.”
“Since criminal cases are now pending in court awaiting trial against the accused, she is regarded as a detainee and, as such, should be detained in a BJMP facility just like all others who are similarly situated. She should not be given special privileges or treatment distinct from all other detainees,” they stressed.
Prosecutors also pointed out that the BJMP-SICA was “specially organized and set up to cater to detainees who are considered high-risk and high profile inmates.”
They added her continued detention at the PNPCC is “burdensome, costly, and inefficient for the PNP-HSS (Headquarters Support Service).”
President Duterte himself previously identified the Parojinog family as being involved in the illegal drugs trade.
She and her brother, Reynaldo Parojinog Jr., were arrested on July 30, 2017 in simultaneous operations conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) against the family.
Reynaldo Jr. has already been convicted for possession of illegal drugs and has a pending case of illegal possession of firearms.
During the same operation, 15 persons were killed by the PNP in a shootout, including the Parojinog siblings’ father, Ozamis City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr.; their mother, Susan; and the mayor’s brother, Misamis Occidental provincial board member Octavio Parojinog.