Diaz, Loot vow: We will clear our names | Inquirer News

Diaz, Loot vow: We will clear our names

TWO police generals plan to submit themselves to investigation after President Duterte accused them of being drug protectors.

“God knows there is no truth to that. My conscience is clear,” said Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, former Western Visayas police director, on Tuesday.


He said he didn’t know why the President implicated him in illegal drugs.


“I will submit myself for investigation in Camp Crame (the police national headquarters) tomorrow (Wednesday). I hope the investigation will be conducted immediately so I can clear my name,” he said.

Retired Chief Supt. Vicente Loot, who is now Mayor of Daanbantayan in northern Cebu, said he would also subject himself to any investigating body and would even see President Duterte to clear himself.

“I can never be a protector (of illegal drugs) because I was not involved in any anti-drug operations and anticriminality campaign,” he said in an interview over TV Patrol Cebu.

In a phone interview, Diaz said he did not know why the President implicated him in illegal drugs.

He said he was worried and saddened  about the effect of the reports about the President’s statement on his parents, siblings and family.

“Those who worked with me know my record. I have never been involved or implicated in anything illegal. I am confident that I will be cleared,” he said.


Paul Ledesma, Western Visayas director of the Philippine Enforcement Agency, was also surprised with the President’s statement.

“He has been cooperative with our programs and activities since he was assigned here just over a year ago,” Ledesma said.

Diaz was among those relieved from his post in the reshuffling of the Philippine National Police.

He was relieved effective July 1 and replaced by Chief Supt. Jose Gentiles, his classmate in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1984.

Diaz was not given a new assignment but was ordered to report to Camp Crame.

He was assigned as Western Visayas director in June last year and is set to retire from the service in March next year.

Diaz was among four active police generals who drew controversy before the May 9 elections after they were seen in a hotel with supporters of Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

He was among the four police generals who drew controversy after they were spotted by reporters on April 2 at one of the function rooms of the Novotel Manila Araneta Center with persons identified with the LP.

The hotel is owned by the family of businesswoman Judy Araneta-Roxas, mother of the former Interior Secretary who came in second to Duterte in the May 9 elections.

The reporters were attending a seminar of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility at a separate function room across from where the police officials were seen in a meeting with LP personalities.

The other police general who were also seen at the hotel included Director Generoso Cerbo Jr., chief of the PNP Directorate for Intelligence, and Chief Superintendents Rainier Idio and Ronald Santos. Idio is Cagayan Valley police director while Santos is Calabarzon deputy police director for administration.

The four generals belong to the Philippine Military Academy “Maharlika” Class of 1984, which had adopted Roxas as an honorary member.

Mindanao-based journalists in the media seminar also saw in the hotel retired Lt. Gen. Rey Ardo, former chief of the Western Mindanao Command; Maj. Gen. Oscar Lactao, newly appointed Inspector General of the AFP and former commanding general of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division based in Cagayan de Oro; and retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo.

Diaz denied to the INQUIRER that he was at the hotel and claimed that he was at his house in Parañaque after arriving from Davao City where he attended a conference.

Loot, for his part, lamented that he had always been subject of black propaganda, especially during elections, since his family members were into politics.

His wife, Maria Luisa, was mayor of Daanbantayan – a post that he now occupies after retiring from the police force in 2015. His stepson, Sun Shimura, is provincial board member.

At the May 9 polls, Loot defeated incumbent mayor Augusto Corro by a mere seven votes.

In a television interview, Loot said the allegations raised by the President may be linked to the 2013 white paper that surfaced when he was about to be selected Manila District Police chief by Mayor Joseph Estrada.

It was a letter purportedly from the Office of Rep. Lucy Torres of Leyte’s 4th district, alleging that Loot was protecting the entry of illegal drugs intended for Eastern and Central Visayas.

Loot, who belonged to PMA Class of 1982, was assistant for administration of the Police Regional Office for Eastern Visayas from 2010 to 2013. He also used to be deputy regional director for operations of Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7). Before his retirement in 2015, Loot was director for PNP Training Service.

Loot said he went to see Torres and her husband, now Mayor Richard Gomez of Ormoc City, who denied that the letter came from them.

He was investigated and was later cleared by the anti-illegal drugs task force in Crame, he added.

Apparently, Loot said the letter reached the Office of the President and the PNP.

“You can ask Richard Gomez. I was cleared,” he added.

Mayor Gomez, in a phone interview, confirmed that Loot came to show them the letter purportedly from the office of the congresswoman.

Gomez, who was chief of staff of his wife, recalled that the letter did not come from their office because the letterhead was not the letterhead of their office. The signature of the congresswoman that appeared on the letter was different from Torres’ signature, he added.

Gomez said they did not know where the letter came from since it would be difficult to trace its origin.

“With regard to (Loot) being linked to drugs, we cannot confirm that. Maybe other people can confirm,” he added.

Loot’s wife, Maria Luisa, said they called up Cebu Representatives Gwendolyn Garcia of the 3rd district and Benhur Salimbangon of the 4th district to ask their help on how to get in touch with President Duterte.

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“We are willing to face whatever investigation the President would do,” she said./rga


TAGS: Drugs, Nation, News

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