By Roy Mabasa
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Wednesday said the statement earlier made by President Rodrigo Duterte implicating former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to the ambush of retired police general and Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot “appeared to be said in jest.”
“It appears to me since there was this sound of ‘pssss’, so it appears to me to be said in jest given the fact that then General Loot is a pet peeve of the President because he is involved in drugs. And Mr. Loot is a known protégée of Secretary Roxas. So I think it was more of an expression of displeasure said in jest,” Panelo said in a press briefing.
In a gathering of barangay chieftains in Davao City on Tuesday night, Duterte said: “Loot was ambushed twice but could not be killed. It was Roxas. Roxas ordered his ambush, not me.”
Panelo said the President’s displeasure of Loot was evident in many of his speeches where the former police general’s name would crop up whenever the subject matter focuses on illegal drugs.
“A president can be very displeased with one of his generals involved in drugs, kaya galit na galit siya doon. So that is his way of showing displeasure. He is so disappointed with this man,” he added.
He argued that when the President makes a joke, it does not mean he is accusing anybody.
“That style that has been factored when he was running for the presidency and was voted into office overwhelmingly.”
“If it is a joke, then it’s not an accusation. And as the President says, you can’t stop me from making jokes,” the Palace official added.
Loot was one of the “narco-generals” tagged by Duterte.
Last May, Loot, together with his family, were ambushed in Daanbantayan after a trip from an island off Cebu province.