MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police is now in the process of verifying intelligence reports on the alleged unhampered activities of the dreaded Kuratong Baleleng group in Ozamiz City.
PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said the national police could not immediately act on the basis of unverified information.
“We cannot act on mere intelligence reports. We still have to validate. We must have solid evidence, especially if these information will be used in court,” Cruz said.
In a press conference in Quezon City on Wednesday, Misamis Occidental second district Rep. Loreto Leo Ocampos urged the PNP to take action on what he alleged was the still active operation of the Kuratong Balaleng group in Ozamiz City.
Ocampos also alleged that aside from being a criminal group, the group is also now involved in partisan political activities. Ocampos tagged former Ozamiz City mayor Reynaldo “Aldong” Parojinog as the group’s alleged leader.
“The Kuratong Baleleng has been operating with impunity in Ozamiz City because it enjoyed political protection for many years from the former city mayor, Aldong Parojinog, the son of the founder of Kuratong Baleleng, Octavio Parojinog,” he said.
Ocampos said this “political protection” is now being extended to the group by Nova Parojinog-Echavez, the incumbent mayor of Ozamiz City and the daughter of the former mayor.
“The violence perpetrated by the Kuratong Baleleng during the last 2010 election proved again its potency and audacity in disregarding the law. Emboldened by the backing of the Lakas party where the Parojinogs are running under its wing, the Liberal Party candidates and supporters were the victims of intimidation, murders, coercion, robbery, vote rigging and other blatant violations of election law,” Ocampos added.
According to the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, the Kuratong Baleleng began as an anti-communist vigilante group created by the military but has become a diversified kidnapping, smuggling, and extortion syndicate with close links to officials in Northwestern Mindanao and elsewhere.