NBI, PNP file murder raps vs Bantag, aide over Lapid, Villamor deaths

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Building (Photo courtesy of CNN Philippines)

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police today, November 7, jointly filed two murder complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief director-general Gerard Bantag, his deputy security and operations officer (DSO) Ricardo Zulueta and several persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) in connection with the death of broadcaster Percy Mabasa, also known as Percy Lapid and middleman Jun Villamor. 

During a joint press briefing, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjmin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. immediately called on Bantag and Zulueta to surrender even as the justice department assured that he would be given due process.

The call for Bantag and Zulueta’s also came before the DOJ sets the complaints for preliminary investigation and despite no warrants of arrest having been issued against them.

“We will give him due process, he will have the right to counsel as all people are entitled to the right to counsel,” Remulla assured.

Remulla also admitted that Bantag and Zulueta were not summoned by the investigating agencies to shed light on the two deaths but assured that they would be given a chance to answer the charges filed against them during the preliminary investigation.

“It wasn’t necessary, all possible witnesses have been questioned and we consider this an exceptional case. None of these people would have talked if Gen. Bantag remained as the head of the BuCor,” Remulla said. 

“The fear of Gen. Bantag is just tremendous and unbelievable from the eyes of these PDLs so that we can say that we thought it best that in conducting the investigation that we let Gen. Bantag to answer the charges formally with the fiscal’s office,” Remulla said. 

Image credits: CNN PHL


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