Loot explains how he got rich; Diaz’ colleagues shocked
CEBU CITY – Retired Chief Supt. Vicente Loot was one of the richest police officers in the Philippine National Police (PNP) with a net worth of more than P100 million.
But Loot, who is now Daanbantayan mayor in northern Cebu, explained that his pieces of property were acquired through bank loans and other “legal means.”
Aside from his house in Daanbantayan, his family also owned 18 houses mostly in Mandaue City, Cebu, which he had rented out, a cockpit arena and five luxury vehicles.
Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, on the other hand, kept a low-key lifestyle when he was director of the Police Regional Office in Western Visayas (PRO-6) for almost a year.
Several police officials were surprised that Diaz was implicated in illegal drugs because the police general was vocal against his anger against illegal drugs which he said had victimized his family members.
Diaz and Loot were among the five active and retired PNP generals who were tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as being drug protectors.
Loot wants to meet Duterte
Loot said he was still trying to get an appointment to see the President and PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa so he could explain his side.
He sought the help of Rep. Benhur Salimbangon of Cebu’s 4th district and other officials of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the party of Mr. Duterte, to reach the President.
Although the damage had been done, he added he still wanted the President and Dela Rosa to hear his explanation.
Loot said he was willing to be investigated, undergo a lie detector test in front of the President and even waived his right to the bank secrecy law so all his bank accounts would be examined.
He said they were being subjected to lifestyle check by NBI last 2009 and the case at the Ombudsman was dismissed because they were able to explain the source of their wealth.
Despite the controversy, Loot has no plans of stepping down since he was elected by the people of Daanbantayan to be their chief executive.
“If the allegations raised against me were related to my present post, I would resign,” he said. “But these charges are not related to my job now which is to protect the people who are oppressed and abused.”
Loot asked the Cebuanos not to be haste in judging him because he left the police service after 37 years with his name and reputation intact.
“We will survive in every challenge that we are going to face all throughout their journey,” he said.
Loot reiterated that the accusations could be part of a black propaganda, especially that his family was in politics.
His wife, Maria Luisa, was mayor of Daanbantayan while stepson, Sun Shimura, is provincial board member.
Loot also claimed that his name had been used by people involved in illegal drugs without his knowledge.
He recalled that while serving as deputy regional director for administration at Police Regional Office-Eastern Visayas based in Leyte, a suspected drug lord in the province was arrested in 2012.
Kerwin Espinosa was arrested following a shootout with policemen in Leyte who were serving an arrest warrant issued by a court in Cebu City. Espinosa was reportedly a relative of suspected drug lord Jeffrey Diaz alias Jaguar who was killed recently in Las Piñas.
Espinosa reportedly made it appear that he was Loot’s underling since he bought his fighting cocks from the police general.
But Loot said the accusation was illogical because he was the one who ordered to implement the warrant against Espinosa.
“My name is very vulnerable especially that I run a cockpit arena which is sometimes patronized by drug pushers,” he said in Cebuano.
Loot admitted that the profits he garnered from his cockpit arena enabled him to acquire other properties.
His wife, he added, acquired lots in Mandaue City even before they got married in 1990 at P200 per square meter. Now the value of the property ballooned to P10,000 per square meters.
They eventually built houses on these lots through bank loans which they were being rented out.
Loot also credited his wife, whom he described as a good businesswoman who was also engaged in sale of pieces of jewelry.
He admitted that there was a time when he was declared the richest police official in the PNP while Maria Luisa was tagged as Cebu’s richest town mayor since their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) was joint.
In 2009, Loot declared a net worth of P106.7 million in his SALN.
His declared assets included P101.3 million from real property or parcels of lands; P8.3 million, vehicles; P6 million, jewelry; P2 million, furniture; and P900,000, investments in insurance and stocks.
Loot’s liabilities amounted to P11.8 million, mostly loans.
Loot had also stated in his SALN four companies which the family owns: Eigado Real Estate, Eigado
Lending, Gallera De Mandaue Cockpit, and Sabungan Canteen, all located in Mandaue City.
In Iloilo City, reports linking Diaz came as a surprise to police officers.
“It’s a big surprise for us, we never saw it coming,” a senior police official, told the INQUIRER. The official asked not to be identified to avoid being dragged in the controversy.
There was no indication that Diaz was involved in illegal drugs during his year-long stint as police director here, according to the official.
“He (Diaz) was very strict on our campaign on illegal drugs. He gave specific targets to the point of micromanaging our operations to ensure these are reached,” the official said.
The official said that during command conferences attended by top police officers in the region, Diaz would narrate how drug addiction had victimized members of his family to stress his personal anger against illegal drugs.
Diaz said in media interviews that his younger brother had been subjected to rehabilitation thrice. He also had a first cousin who died due to drug usage in the 1980s. Another cousin died after she was robbed by a drug addict.
Meetings presided by Diaz would often last long because he was particular about details.
“He was soft-spoken but had a subtle way of pressuring us to deliver our targets,” the police official said.
Diaz was also low-key and resided at his quarters at the police regional headquarters in Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City except when he goes home to Manila.
The Police Regional Office 6 which Diaz headed until July 1 had earlier reported that its operations against illegal drugs from January to May nearly doubled compared to the same period last year.
Operations in Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras and Iloilo reached 384, up by 95.92 percent compared to 196 operations conducted in the same period last year, according to the PRO6 report.
In the operations, police arrested 546 persons, more than double the 269 persons arrested in the first half of 2015.
Operatives confiscated 1438.92 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, lesser in volume compared to 1542.8 grams last year.
“We’ve worked together for about a year and I can say that he was very cooperative and supportive in our programs and activities. He was always open in joint undertakings,” said Paul Ledesma, Western Visayas director of the Philippine Enforcement Agency. With Ador Mayor, Inquirer Visayas
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.