Duterte admits involvement in Cebu mayor's ambush; Panelo clarifies President
President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted of his involvement in the ambush of former Daanbantayan, Cebu Mayor Vicente Loot last year.
"General Loot...I ambushed you, you're an animal, yet you're still alive," Duterte said in a speech during the oath-taking of newly-appointed officials in Malacanang on Tuesday night.
But in a statement on Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo immediately clarified that the President did not order the ambush against Loot, former police general.
He said that Duterte misspoke the Pilipino language since he was not fluent in it.
"What the President intended to say was: 'You were already ambushed, yet you're still alive'," Panelo said, stressing that it has been Duterte's line as shown by the transcripts of some of his previous speeches every time he touches on the topic of the former general's ambush.
"Let us be clear and categorical: The President did not order the ambush of Gen. Loot. It is silly and absurd to conclude that PRRD is behind the ambush just because he misspeaks the Pilipino language which is not his native tongue or first language," said Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel.
He claimed that the Filipinos are already familiar and used to the language of the President who "invariably uses a mixture of English, Bisaya (Cebuano dialect) and Pilipino in communicating with the nation."
Duterte has tagged Loot as a drug protector. He survived the ambush in Daanbantayan wharf in May 2018. Celerina Monte/DMS