DAANBANTAYAN Mayor Vic Loot said he welcomes the DILG investigation on him while 403 individuals who are into drugs surrendered to him yesterday and allowed themselves to be profiled.
Loot also welcomes any investigation on Isla de Gato, a 3,000 sq.-m. rock island owned by the town. He said an investigation on that island will serve as free advertisement for one of Daanbantayan’s favorite dive spots, a cave beneath the island that is shelter to some white tip sharks.
It is an hour by pumpboat from mainland Daanbantayan.
Now retired from PNP, Loot some weeks ago went to the office of DILG Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueño to submit himself since he is one of the PNP generals named by President Rodrigo Duterte as alleged drug protectors.
Loot denied the accusation, saying he has always been serving administrative functions and not in the operational side of the PNP organization.
The other four accused by Duterte are retired PNP director Marcelo Garbo Jr., and active-duty generals Bernardo Diaz, Edgardo Tinio and Joel Pagdilao.
Loot said the secretary told him to just wait for his schedule. The mayor did not visit Malacañang or PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa.
Loot submitted himself for investigation by formally waiving his right not to be investigated since he is already retired, “so I could clear my name.”
Yesterday, Loot sent PNP Regional Director (PRO) 7 Director Chief Supt Noli Taliño a text message, thanking him for saying that the PNP official will investigate Isla de Gato.
“At least, the people will know the truth,” he said, adding that his political detractors are misleading the people through social media by saying that he owned the island, that he has a shabu laboratory there, and that fishermen were not allowed to step on the island.
In his text message to Taliño, the mayor stated that being a fish sanctuary, fishing is not allowed in the area, although divers can dive.
His text message also revealed that De Gato’s cave entrance is located 40 feet underwater.
The cave tunnel will lead one to the other side of the rock island.
“Package dive tour to Gato Island is actually being offered by all dive shops in Malapascua island, like Sea Explorers, Dive Link, Exotic Resort, Evolution, etc., search it and you will find that they are inviting divers rather than driving people away,” read the text message of Loot, which he also sent to Sun.Star Cebu.
Loot said the town gets P100 for every diver in Isla de Gato.
The mayor said the island used to be a research station built by the Cebu State University College of Fisheries, now Cebu Technological University (CTU). No one lives there anymore as there is no water there.
“Your investigation can turn this into a marketing blitz for our town if you will publicize it,” read Loot’s text to Taliño.
The retired general is wondering why the former mayor did not investigate this shabu laboratory allegation when he was still the mayor there until last June 30, 2016.
“I’m the target of demolition by our political enemies who had revived the issue they maliciously floated 15 years ago,” Loot stated in his text message to Taliño.
Yesterday, Daanbantayan social welfare officers listed down the names per barangay and vital information of those who went to the sports complex and admitted that they are involved in illegal drugs, as a user or pusher.
The police took each one’s fingerprints and made them sign the “Sinumpaang Kaakuan” in which they promised not to use and sell illegal drugs, or tolerate others involved in illegal drugs.
The statement was signed by the town’s police commander Senior Insp. Christian Torres, Rev. Fr. Jonah John Orat and Mayor Loot.
Loot said the social welfare officers will visit them in their communities to conduct profiling; determine if they need to undergo drug rehabilitation or join the community-based drug rehabilitation program of the DILG.
Yesterday’s list showed Barangay Logon, or Malapascua, with 44 individuals, as having the most number of people who are into drugs. Barangays Bateria and Talisay both have 32 each, while Calape has 31.
Loot said the town is ready to provide financial assistance to those who will undergo drug rehabilitation, though he did not specify the amount.