June 21, 2023 Hector Lawas 275 views

JUSTICE Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Atty. Mico Clavano and the Philippine National Police yesterday clarified that former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag has never served as a police officer.

“The Philippine National Police would like to clarify that Mr. Gerald Bantag has never been a member of the Philippine National Police. Based on record, he used to be a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) officer before his appointment in Bureau of Corrections and this is to set right some news articles that came out recently,” said PNP Public Information Office chief Brigadier General Redrico A. Maranan in a statement.

The official issued the statement to correct reports that Bantag used to be a ‘police officer’ who is getting help from his former colleagues in the police force to escape arrest.

“We want to emphasize that irrespective of one’s rank, stature, or source of commissionship of any officer; the PNP will arrest any individual who has violated the law. The achievements of our police tracker teams exemplify our record in arresting wanted person,” Maranan added.

Members of different PNP regional offices and national operational support units led by the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group has proven time and time again that they would arrest wanted violators of the law regardless of their rank or position in the PNP and other allied law enforcement agencies.

“Since the issuance of the arrest warrants for Bantag and Zulueta, upon orders of the CPNP, General Benjamin C. Acorda Jr., CIDG tracker teams are working round the clock and at all times in support of the National Bureau of Investigation and other officers of the law to apprehend the fugitives promptly,” said the PNP-PIO chief.

“The PNP maintains a firm resolve in its dedication to safeguard and serve the Filipino people. We express our gratitude for the support and cooperation received from the public as we strive to uphold peace, security, and justice,” he added.

Meanwhile, Clavano previously acknowledged the complexity of apprehending Bantag due to his connections within the police force and other law enforcement agencies..

In a Viber message to reporters, Clavano expressed regret for any confusion caused by his previous statement and sought to rectify his error.

He emphasized that Bantag did not serve in the Philippine National Police but rather completed his studies at the Philippine National Police Academy. Clavano hoped that this clarification would dispel any misunderstandings.

A P2 million reward has been offered by the Department of Justice for any information that would lead to the capture of Bantag. Another P1 million was also offered by the agency for the arrest of Bantag’s co-accused Ricardo Zulueta. By Hector Lawas and Alfred Dalizon