February 6, 2023

Juan Kabayan

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DoJ orders another 90-day preventive suspension against Bantag

THE Department of Justice (DoJ) has ordered another 90-day unpaid preventive suspension against the already suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag for allowing media network SMNI to interview convicted kidnapper and retired general Jovito Palparan while detained at the national penitentiary in 2022.

The first preventive suspension of Bantag was issued upon the order of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Oct. 21, 2022 following the death of person deprived of liberty (PDL) Cristito Villamor Palana, the alleged middleman in the killing of broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa, inside the National Bilibid Prison (NBP). The first 90-day period expired on Thursday, January 19.

According to the formal charge signed by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Jan. 17, Bantag granted SMNI an interview with Palparan on March 30, 2022 inside the Overseer’s Office at the Minimum Security Compound of the NBP without complying with the BuCor Operating Manual and a department circular on the approval of PDL interviews.

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The formal charge is for grave misconduct and neglect in the performance of duties for failure to observe the procedure and guidelines in the approval of requests and conduct of interviews with PDLs.