In brazen, morning shooting: Loot, family cheat death
Police secure the new Maya wharf in Daanbantayan after town Mayor Vicente Loot and members of his family were ambushed yesterday morning.
Photo courtesy of CPPO
In brazen, morning shooting: Loot, family cheat death
Ermida Q. Moradas, Mae Clydyl L. Avila, Lorraine Mitzi A. Ambrad (The Freeman) - May 14, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot and his family survived an ambush at the town’s New Maya wharf as they were disembarking from a passenger boat from Malapascua Island at past 7 a.m. yesterday.

Loot was with his wife, former mayor Maria Luisa; son, Board Member Sun Shimura; daughter in law; and five grandchildren.

The family members are safe but their two drivers, Arnel Rosario and Ruben Castañeda, as well as Jerly Rossel, the nanny of Loot’s grandchild, were wounded.

The drivers were hit in the buttocks while the nanny was hit in her leg. They are recuperating in the hospital in Cebu City.

A porter identified as Bernabe Ypsor and the Loots’ service vehicle were also hit.

Daanbantayan is located at the northernmost tip of Cebu Province.

Provincial Police spokesperson, Police Supt. Virgilio Bayon-on, told The Freeman that a witness saw at least two gunmen firing at the victims. Three others reportedly waited at a distance near a van that the suspects used to flee the area.

The gunmen reportedly used M16 rifles and used a white van with plate number 5884. The police recovered at least 19 empty bullet shells from the crime scene.

“Lima tanan ang nakita sa atong witnesses nga suspetsado,” Bayon-on said.

Bayon-on said they are looking at politics, personal grudge, work, business, and even illegal drugs as possible motives in the shooting.

It can be recalled that in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte named Loot as a narcopolitician. Loot has since denied the tag.

“Tanan angulo atong gitan-aw but usa sa atong focus kay ang election related since election na but wala nato gi-discount ang ubang angulo. Padayon pa ang atong gihimo nga imbestigasyon,” Bayon-on said.

Loot himself believes politics may be involved.

"Okay ra unta to kung ako ra but naa man gud akong mga apo. They are traumatized," he told The FREEMAN.

He said he saw three assailants with high-powered guns but their faces were covered with black bonnets.

Witnesses also told the police that the gunmen spoke Tagalog.

Loot said the assailants “did not discriminate” as they opened fire despite seeing he was with his grandchildren.

Security

Following the incident, police checkpoints at the town have been intensified and the special investigating task group is now checking establishments near the wharf that may have a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera, which may have captured the shooting.

The Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) will also assist in the investigation.

Regional police director, Chief Supt. Robert Quenery told The FREEMAN that the special investigating task group will be led by Senior Supt. Dennis Agustin, Deputy Regional Director for Operations.

Quenery said he has directed the newly-installed chief of the Cebu Police Provincial Police Office, Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena, to provide additional security to the Loot family.

“I directed the Provincial Director to provide security personnel to ensure the security and safety of Mayor Loot and his family,” Quenery said.

Elections

In light of today’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, one more team from the Regional Mobile Force Company was also deployed there in light of today’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Prior to the incident, two teams from the Philippine Army were deployed in Daanbantayan to support a quick response team and the town police.

“Additional personnel have been sent to the town to ensure a safe Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. Despite the incident, we foresee that the election in Daanbantayan will push through peacefully,” Quenery said.

PRO-7 spokesperson, Supt. Reyman Tolentin, said candidates and incumbent officials need not worry as the police consider the incident as an isolated case.

"Daghan factors ngano nahitabo ang ambush. Dili candidate si Mayor Loot. It’s isolated from the elections," Tolentin said.

Provincial Election Officer Lionel Marco Castillano said it is already too late for the Commission on Elections to place Daanbantayan in the election watchlist.

He is confident, however, that elections will push through today peacefully with the security the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines is providing. (BANAT NEWS)  

VICENTE LOOT
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