Loot to sue Kerwin Espinosa, others for maligning him in drug war
CEBU CITY — Retired police general and now Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot is set to file charges against Eastern Visayas’ top drug trafficking suspect Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. and other persons who linked him to the illegal drugs trade.
In a statement, Loot said filing charges against those who ruined his name would be the first step to vindicate himself.
“I will start with filing of charges against those who used my name in collecting drug money. This will now be the opportunity for me to clear my name,” he said.
Loot was among the five top police officials identified as illegal drug “protectors” by President Rodrigo Duterte last July.
Aside from Loot, also named drug coddlers by President Duterte were retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., Director Joel Pagdilao, and Chief Superintendents Bernardo Diaz and Edgardo Tinio.
Loot repeatedly denied the accusations against him, saying there were people who just wanted him become the fall guy after using his name in their illegal transactions.
“I am a victim of influence peddling by unscrupulous people. When a person has the rank, position, influence and credibility, his name is easily peddled and sold to law breakers by scalawags in the service or persons with personal interests,” he said.
Asked who in particular he intended to sue, the one-star general said his lawyers were taking care of the matter.
During the resumption of the hearing on the killing of his Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. on Wednesday, Kerwin Espinosa identified Loot as among the police officials who coddled him.
Kerwin claimed giving P120,000 in monthly payola in 2011 to Loot through Chief Insp. Leo Laraga who led the police team that raided the cell of Mayor Espinosa and then shot him dead in an alleged shootout last Nov. 5.
Loot vehemently denied the allegations.
“We both don’t know each other personally, and there is no personal transaction between us, either by phone or in person,” he said.
Loot said he did not know Laraga and that the latter was never assigned to him.
“There is no Leo Laraga assigned under me. I don’t remember knowing him personally or was assigned under me,” he said.
Loot believed another person used his name to demand and collect protection money from Kerwin.
“My office is only involved in administrative or personnel matters. We don’t handle or supervise operations of line units involved in anti-drugs or anti-criminality operations,” he said, referring to his position when he was the deputy director for administration in Easter Visayas.
Loot, 56, headed the Central Visayas Regional Anti-Narcotics Office before he headed the Cebu Provincial Police Office from 2005 to 2007. He was later named deputy for operations of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), and was deputy regional director for administration in Eastern Visayas (2010 to 2012).
He retired in July 2015 and ran for mayor of Daanbantayan last May.
Loot, who has four children aged 34, 27, 26, and 24, won over his opponent by a margin of just seven votes. SFM
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