THE list of those allegedly involved in illegal drugs in Cebu was recently expanded to include two more names of top officials.
As more names got revealed, the need to bring action against these suspects before the proper forum became urgent. Otherwise, that lengthening list would remain in media reports only.
It was Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot’s name that kept surfacing for weeks in the drugs lists released by President Rodrigo Duterte and his law agencies. Loot was first mentioned in the disclosure made by Duterte in early July. With Loot in the same document was former Police Regional Office Central Visayas Director Marcelo Garbo Jr. Loot was again named in the second list released last August as one who had dealings with a drug trader.
It appeared that was the most the government sources of these lists were willing to name as to those in the Cebu illegal drug trade. Then, two more names were given-- former Regional Intelligence Division chief Rex Derilo and former Regional Special Operations Group chief George Ylanan.
Both Derilo and Ylanan are out of Cebu as they were reassigned before the new list was made public. Both are in the custody of PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa’s office although they have new assignments. Derilo was moved to the Zamboanga Peninsula police office and Ylanan to Northern Mindanao.
Derilo has denied acting as a protector of drug lords. Suspected drug trader Franz Sabalones had named Derilo and Ylanan as among those who he pays for protection. He named a total of 18 policemen and a drug enforcement agent. There are three more from the Cebu provincial police office and several policemen said to be in the list.
Derilo and Ylanan were reportedly part of the local police team that killed suspected drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz last June 17 in Las Piñas City. There were allegations raised that said Diaz was killed to silence him as he knew who were the government people involved in the illegal drug trade.
According to Sabalones’s admission, Derilo received weekly P40,000 and Ylanan, P30,000.
Many of those in the government’s lists have denied the claims of witnesses and have said they were linked to illegal drugs out of revenge for going after the traders. Some of them said they could not be protectors because they were the ones who arrested these people.
Loot, after he was named a second time, complained about the trial by publicity. He said he was willing to be executed in public if it could be proven that he had links to a drug lord. Loot is a retired police chief superintendent.
With all the information now with law enforcers and a number of those in the lists already tracked and accounted for, the filing of cases in court should be the next logical move. When the legal process is started then those in the lists can begin defending themselves in a forum that could decide their cases. Media reports can destroy reputations but cannot decide on the innocence or guilt of a suspect. Only a prosecutor or a judge can decide on their cases. Let the process begin.
Efforts exerted in coming up with the lists and in shaming people do not appear commensurate with the actions to have the legal processes begin.