January 29, 2023

Juan Kabayan

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Bantag files complaint before Ombudsman vs Remulla, others

SUSPENDED Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag has filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and several others.

The complaint was filed on Jan. 4, 2023. In it, Bantag accused Remulla of murder, grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and conduct unbecoming of a public official.

In his complaint, Bantag alleged that Remulla was the mastermind behind the death of broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa.

Mabasa was shot dead in Las Piñas City on Oct. 3, 2022.

Bantaga claimed that Remulla had ordered German Agojo, a person deprived of liberty (PDL) “to look for” a person or people who will kill Mabasa.

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BuCor Officer-in-Charge Gregorio Catapang Jr. was also a respondent in the complaint.

“The act of […] Catapang in consenting [to] the transfer of Agojo and the other PDLs […] to the [National Bureau of Investigation] confinement facilities shows that he was in conspiracy with” Remulla, Bantag alleged.

The “other PDLs” referred to included Aldrin Galicia, Mario Alvarez, and Alvin Labra who were also respondents in the complaint.

Bantag said that Remulla and Catapang “should be immediately placed under preventive suspension”.

Sought for a reaction, Remulla said Bantag’s complaint was “a desperate act of a desperate person.”

“He is just exhausting all the possible remedies to go against me personally,” Remulla said in an interview Thursday afternoon.

Bantag had filed a complaint against Remulla on Dec. 27, 2022 for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, libel, grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and conduct unbecoming of a public official.

“I don’t know where the legal theory is coming from, but it’s okay because it will not change anything,” Remulla said.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is currently investigating the deaths of Lapid and Villamor.

Bantag, along with former BuCor deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta, was identified as the masterminds behind the killings.

They are facing two complaints for murder.

Bantag had also filed a motion for inhibition to transfer his case from tthe DoJ to the Ombudsman, arguing that the panel is not expected to be impartial under the supervision of Remulla.

Remulla said, however, that “the cases will continue”.

“Our job is to prosecute people. The DoJ is primarily the prosecutorial arm of the government and nobody else will do it, except us,” Remulla said.

Catapang has yet to comment about the charges filed by Bantag.