Jul 31, 2017

The tale of Parojinog Lads and the Kuratong Baleleng Group in Ozamiz

Photo shows Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog (center) flanked by his daughter, Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Echavez, and the mayor's brother. Photo from Philstar
One of the most infamous family in Ozamiz City is the Kuratong Baleleng. Their patriarch, Octavio ‘Ongkoy’ Parojinog Sr. was the leader of a vigilante group in Ozamis.

The Kuratong Baleleng group, which was organized by Army Maj. Franco Calanog during the 80’s, was established to suppress the communist rebels in some parts of Mindanao. The

The emergence of the group was renowned and carefully documented- The Making of a Mindanao Mafia’ by Jose Torres.  Allegedly, the group was reportedly receiving arms from the military for its vigilante activities.



The dominance of Kuratong Baleleng made all the insurgencies in Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga and Zamboanga del Sur started to falter.  But arming the KB is not a good choice. This vigilante group, armed with military guns committed to making crime, robbery and extortion. Later the members were named as wanted. The group pregressed with their activity regardless of being hunted by the police forces.

The group was divided into three after the patriarch’s death: the elder Parojinog's group pursued operating in Ozamiz, Aldong and Renato focused in robberies in Metro Manila. Carmelito Calasan, formed a group that "engaged in extortions, holdups, and bank robberies in Iligan, General Santos City, Cebu City, and Metro Manila."

After Nato's arrest, Aldong and Ricardo, surrendered to the ISAFP and faced cases of assault and bank robbery. Crimes credited by ISAFP to the Kuratong Baleleng includes the P2 million robbery of Solid Bank in Tangub City in 1988, the P12 million Monte de Piedad armored van robbery on Roxas Blvd. in 1990, the P5 million heist at an RCBC bank in Pampanga, and the P12 million Traders Royal Bank robbery in Buendia in 1991.



However, the three were acquitted due to lack of evidence. Aldong, Nato and Ricardo then became government personalities.

Nato became a provincial board member of Misamis Occcidental in 2001 but was killed a year later. Aldong was elected and re-elected mayor of Ozamiz City and was on his fifth term before he was killed in police raid last week. Ricardo is an incumbent councilor of Ozamiz City. He was also a board member of Misamis before his current position.

The success of the Parojinogs in politics was because of their"Robin Hood" image.

"Kuratong Baleleng members gained the trust and admiration of some residents by sharing their loot with them," wrote Jet Damazo in "Kuratong Baleleng Gang: From Friend to Foe."

"One local journalist says the Parojinog family 'would help everybody in need.' He describes the Parojinogs as 'simple people' who are 'approachable' and have a 'soft heart,'" Torres wrote.

And even the father of the three brothers was known for his generosity.  Torres noted in his article that this image "is partly why Aldong Parojinog won the 2001 mayoral elections by a landslide."

Source: ABS-CBN News



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