PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte (PRRD) was “obviously” joking when he said former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas ordered the ambush of former general and now Daanbantayan, Cebu, Mayor Vicente Loot, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said yesterday when asked to clarify Duterte’s recent pronouncement.
“Obviously PRRD was saying it in jest making it appear that he was telling his crowd in confidence with his Psst,” Panelo said.
“His pet peeve is Loot because of his involvement in drugs and he is known to be a protégé of Roxas,” he added, noting that somebody who was present at the event said many in the audience who understood the joke laughed at it.
In a speech in Davao City on Tuesday, Duterte denied having a hand in the ambush of Loot last May.
He said it was his 2016 presidential elections rival, Roxas, who ordered the assault.
“Si Loot kaduha daw ma-ambush di mamatay-patay. Dili ako’y nagpa-ambush adto ha, si Roxas. Katong ordera to kang Roxas ba to, di to ako,” Duterte said in Visayan during the Barangay Summit on Good Governance in Region 11.
(Loot was ambushed twice but could not be killed. I did not order the ambush. It was Roxas. Roxas ordered his ambush, not me.)
Duterte has accused Loot along with other former police generals of protecting drug lords, an allegation the mayor vehemently denied.
Aside from Loot, Duterte also accused former Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo, Jr. former National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Superintendent Joel Pagdilao, former Quezon City Police District Office director Chief Superintendent Edgardo Tinio, former Western Visayas police Chief Superintendent Bernardo Diaz of drug links.
Loot was believed to be an associate of Roxas, who was defeated by Duterte in the 2016 presidential elections.
Roxas denied links with the police officials.