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Philippines mayor among 15 killed in drug raids

By Allen Cone
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address at the Philippine Congress in Quezon City on July 24. Duterte has a list of "narco-politicians," including Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., who was among 15 shot dead by police in raids early Sunday. Photo by Rolex Dela Pena/EPA
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address at the Philippine Congress in Quezon City on July 24. Duterte has a list of "narco-politicians," including Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., who was among 15 shot dead by police in raids early Sunday. Photo by Rolex Dela Pena/EPA

July 30 (UPI) -- A Philippines mayor suspected of involvement in the illegal drugs trade was among 15 shot dead by police in raids Sunday, officials said.

Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., his wife and brother were killed in an exchange of gunfire between the mayor's security team and police serving search warrants in the family's properties around 2:30 a.m. Sunday on Mindanao island, authorities said at a media briefing.

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Police also raided the house of his daughter, Vice Mayor Nova Parojinog, two of the Parojinog clan's farms and other properties, Philippine National Police Scene of the Crime Operatives said. The vice mayor was arrested on charges of illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs.

Parojinog is the third mayor on President Rodrigo Duterte's list of "narco-politicians" to be killed in the government's narcotics crackdown.

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"The administration vowed to intensify the drug campaign," presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement. "The Parojinogs, if you would recall, are included in PRRD's list of personalities involved in the illegal drug trade."

The raid Sunday was conducted by the Region 10 Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Misamis Occidental Police Provincial Office and the Ozamiz City Police Station.

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Confiscated from the mayor's home were $27,000 in cash, three rifle grenades, bags of suspected illegal drug shabu and a firearm, the Mindanaoan Broadcasting Channel told CNN Philippines. In the vice mayor's home were suspected shabu, an M-16 rifle and cash.

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Ozamiz City Police Chief Senior Inspector Jovani Espenido said at the media briefing that Parojinogs were the source of illegal drugs in Ozamiz.

A Parojinogs spokesman denied the mayor's security fired any shots.

Several thousand people have been killed since Duterte launched a war on the drugs trade in July 2016.

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On July 22, legislators in the Philippines extended martial law on the island of Mindanao to help deal with violence by an Islamist insurgency. More than 500 people have died in the fighting,

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