Aug 092017

MANILA, Aug 1 (Mabuhay) — Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio on Tuesday said his client, arrested Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez, was the one who convinced suspected drug lord Herbert Colanggo to testify against Senator Leila de Lima.

“I know for a fact siya po ang [kumumbinsi] noong medyo nagdadalawang-isip si Herbert Colanggo kung magte-testify siya against Senator De Lima kasi natatakot din si Herbert,” Topacio said

He added: “Kinumbinsi niya na sabihin mo na ang totoo ang tungkol kay Senator De Lima para malaman under this new administration kung ano talaga si Senator De Lima.”

Colanggo and other high-profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison testified on De Lima’s alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade inside the prison facility. De Lima is currently detained at the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame on drug-related charges.

Topacio is one of the lawyers of the vice mayor, who was arrested by policemen following bloody predawn raids in Ozamiz City on Sunday. She is also detained at the PNP Custodial Center.

The lawyer said that the vice mayor and Colanggo are still together.

The relationship of the vice mayor and the detained drug lord became public after President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech days after he assumed office in 2016.

In tagging the Parojinogs in the illegal drug trade, Duterte said Colanggo was the slain mayor’s son-in-law.

The late mayor had admitted that his daughter and Colanggo are in a relationship.

During the interview, Topacio said they will ask the Department of Justice to order the police to release the vice mayor during the scheduled inquest proceedings today.

He said the vice mayor should be released because the 36-hour rule in the filing of charges against an arrested person had lapsed. He said that based on the account of the vice mayor’s camp, she was arrested by policemen around 6 a.m. on Sunday and the 36-hour deadline should have lapsed at 6 p.m. Monday.

He said the vice mayor may still undergo inquest proceedings despite the lapsed deadline.

“Pero ang hilingin namin since the law has been violated, pakawalan na at kasuhan na lang under the regular preliminary investigation procedures,” he said.

The vice mayor’s camp is claiming that the pieces of evidence supposedly seized by policemen during a raid at her house were planted, which the police had also denied. (MNS)

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