President Duterte’s Roxas-Loot remark, ‘expression of displeasure’
By Jelly Musico
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark that former secretary Mar Roxas has ordered the ambush of retired police general Vicente Loot, an alleged drug protector, was “an expression of displeasure said in jest,” Malacañang said on Wednesday.
“I read the transcript. It appears to me since there was sound of ‘psst’. So, it appears to me to be said in jest given the fact that the General Loot is a pet peeve of the President because he is involved in drugs and Mr. Loot is a known protégé of Secretary Roxas. So, I think it was more of an expression of displeasure, said in jest,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
During the Barangay Summit on Good Governance held in Davao City on Tuesday night, Duterte said Loot has been ambushed twice but clarified, “I wasn’t the one who ordered for his ambush.”
“Psst, Roxas ordered this someone to be ambushed. Who else would try to ambush a police general?” the President said in Visayan language.
Panelo said the Commander-in-Chief is “be very displeased” when one of his generals is involved in illegal drugs.
“If you notice in some of his speeches when drug is the subject matter of his discourse, he always name(s) Loot at nagmumura siya, ‘di ba, nagagalit siya (and he curses, he is angry). So that (is) his way of showing displeasure. He is so disappointed with this man,” he said.
Loot is among the list of high-ranking government officials linked to the illegal drug trade in the country. The mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu has denied the accusation.
When asked if it was necessary for the President to accuse Roxas, Panelo replied, “If it’s a joke, then it is not an accusation.”
“As the President said, ‘You can’t stop me from making jokes.’ Whether it is necessary or not, that is his style and that style has been factored when he was running for the presidency and was voted into office overwhelmingly given that input on his style,” he added.
Panelo clarified also that Duterte’s joke was not tantamount to bullying.
“No, I do not think so. People make jokes and it doesn’t mean you’re bullying someone,” he said.
Roxas served as secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government from 2012 to 2015 under former president Benigno Aquino III.
He ran but finished second in the 2016 presidential race, which Duterte won by a margin of more than six million votes. (PNA)