Clearing their names
Provincial Board (PB) Member Sun Shimura’s appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to give his stepfather, embattled Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot a chance to prove his
innocence may fall on deaf ears given the President’s vicious public broadside against him during a recent visit to Cebu.
The fact that Loot and his family barely survived an ambush by still unknown perpetrators didn’t faze the President one bit as he alleged that Loot had a “roomful” of shabu that he supposedly kept as proof of his alleged drug lord ties.
This is in stark contrast to former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who supposedly had a meeting with the President and, based on Rama’s social media posts, may be one or several steps away from being cleared of drug ties.
The former mayor’s chances of being cleared can perhaps be seen in a Facebook post by one of his followers that showed him posing with several key officials in the President’s cabinet, including Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino.
Whether it was taken recently or not or if the OPAV had issued a statement for or against it, the photo may serve as a good indicator of Rama’s chances of being cleared perhaps ahead of next year’s local elections when the former mayor had expressed his intentions of running for the mayoralty post anew.
Regardless of the political intramurals within the opposition ranks, one question keeps popping out: how do former and incumbent officials get to clear their names of the drug charges against them or — and this is redundant but bears asking anew — is the President’s public naming and shaming a veiled signal for so-called “vigilantes” to target those on his blacklist?
Yet another ugly aspect about the President’s drug watchlist was his accusation of extramarital affairs committed by a priest who got killed recently. While he didn’t name names, the reference can be connected by those who bother to do the research but don’t necessarily condone the murder.
Shimura’s appeal along with his father may prove fruitless but it still serves as a reminder about the Duterte administration’s dangerous and extreme approach towards eliminating any and all perceived suspects in its war against illegal drugs.
Loot said he had an idea as to who is behind the attempts at his life and it is imperative for the police to catch and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Yet it may not clear him of any ties to the illegal drug trade and nothing short of a miracle or a resignation can dissuade the President from continuing to accuse him of being a drug lord
protector sans any clear, legal and incontrovertible evidence against him.
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