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Ex-police general Loot denies links to Espinosa drug group of Leyte

/ 11:31 PM August 03, 2016
CONTROVERSIAL MAYOR VIC LOOT/JULY 7, 2016: Controversial former PNP general now Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot gestures as he answers questions regarding the anouncement of President Duterte that he is one of the PNP Generals involved in the illegal drug protectors in a press conference in the Governors conference room. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Former police general and now Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

CEBU CITY — Former police general and now Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot denied alleged links with the Kerwin Espinosa drug syndicate of Leyte, which reportedly popped up in an intelligence report submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Loot, who was one of the five police generals linked by President Duterte to the illegal drug trade, said the so-called intelligence report was unbelievable that could only happen in a movie.

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He said he first heard the name of Espinosa in 2010 but he never met the man personally.

“Pang-pelikula man na, I don’t know Kerwin Espinosa until 2010 when RAIDSOTF (Regional Anti-illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force) operatives were able to get a warrant for his arrest,” Loot said.

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Loot said he did not also know Espinosa’s father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.

The alleged intelligence report dated May 31, 2016, which was reported on Wednesday by Inquirer.net, showed the link of Loot and retired Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo, former police director for Central Visayas, to the drug syndicate of Espinosa.

Espinosa was reportedly hired by Loot as police asset when Loot was the head of the Regional Anti-Narcotics Unit (RANU) and later on, he was reportedly used to recycle the confiscated drugs back into the market.

But Loot vehemently denied that he hired Espinosa as a police asset when he was the chief of the Regional Anti-Narcotics Unit (RANU) of the Police Regional Office 7 (PRO7).

Loot said he became chief of RANU in 2001 and he could not remember hiring Espinosa at that time.

Loot said that when he became the chief of RANU in Central Visayas for two years, he was even awarded as an outstanding police officer.

He recalled apprehending a drug cartel at that time and they did not hire an asset but a deep penetration agent.

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Loot said he first heard the name of Espinosa in 2010 when he became the deputy regional director for operations (DRDO) in PRO-7, a post that gave him supervision of the RAIDSOTF.

Loot said the name of Espinosa cropped up and RAIDSOTF personnel were able to get a warrant for his arrest, although they failed to arrest him at that time.

He encountered the name of Espinosa the second time when he was assigned at PRO 8 as deputy regional director for administration.

He said he was the one who gave Espinosa’s warrant of arrest to intelligence personnel, which resulted in a shootout and led to the arrest.

He also denied reports that he visited Espinosa during his arrest in Tacloban last 2015. He said it could be checked in the logbook if indeed, he visited Espinosa.  SFM

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