EVEN if the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7 cleared former Daanbantayan mayor Vicente Loot of any involvement in illegal drug activities, this would not remove him from President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of police officials and politicians involved in drug trafficking.
Only the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Malacañang can clear the retired police general, according to Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Debold Sinas.
In a separate interview, PDEA 7 Director Wardley Getalla could not say if there is already a recommendation to remove Loot from the narco-list.
He said in a text message to SunStar Cebu that there is a national adjudication board, which is tasked to investigate and validate the information from the President’s list of drug personalities. The board is composed of intelligence units and other law enforcement agencies.
Loot’s move to ask the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 to investigate allegations against him is fine by Sinas.
“Now, if Loot wants to be investigated, I think it is his right if he chooses the NBI to do it. We have no problem if he does not want the police to conduct the investigation,” Sinas said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
The PRO 7, he said, would not give security to Loot when the investigation starts, adding that the latter is not a public official anymore.
“Kon wala siyay gihimong dautan, nganong mahadlok man siya? Basin paranoia lang (If he had done nothing wrong, what’s the reason for him to be afraid? Maybe he has paranoia),” he said.
Loot sent a letter dated July 13, 2019 to the NBI 7, asking the agency to conduct an independent investigation as the President still continued to tie him to illegal drugs.
He says in the letter he is innocent.
Attached to the letter is the CIDG 7’s findings in 2016—Loot could not be charged with administrative and criminal offenses as there is no evidence that would link him to drug trafficking.
“In the issue of whether or not Mayor Vicente Loot committed other administrative and/or criminal violations, Mayor Loot could not be held administratively and/or criminally liable for other violations. There is no evidence that will implicate Mayor Loot to have committed any violation,” read a portion of the resolution, which was signed by former CIDG 7 chief Marlon Tayaba.
Loot was elected mayor of Daanbantayan in the 2016 national and local elections.
In 2018, Loot and his family survived an attack by five unidentified men armed with high-powered firearms in the new port in Barangay Maya, Daanbantayan.
Loot explained that his family obtained real estate properties when his wife Maria Luisa was still the mayor of the town. (from AYB of SuperBalita Cebu/KAL, WBS)