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Court archives murder case vs Bantag, Zulueta

June 29, 2023 Hector Lawas 193 views

THE Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court has opted to archive the murder case involving former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag and former deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta in relation to the controversial killing of intermediary Jun Villamor in the high-profile Percy Lapid murder case.

Branch 206 has chosen to archive the case pending the apprehension of Bantag and Zulueta, who have eluded authorities since the issuance of arrest warrants against them.

Attorney Rocky Balisong, representing former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag, yesterday expressed approval of the court’s decision to archive the murder case related to the death of middleman Jun Villamor in the high-profile Percy Lapid slaying.

In a message, Balisong emphasized that Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 206 lacked jurisdiction over Bantag and former deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta due to their non-arrest status.

“.. it is correct because the court has not yet acquired jurisdiction over the person of Bantag and Zulueta,” Balisong said.

Meanwhile, the court sentenced the other accused in the case after they pleaded guilty to lesser offenses.

“Considering the pleas of guilty of the present accused, the prosecution was able to prove the guilt of all the accused present beyond a reasonable doubt,” the order said.

The court said Mario Alvarez, Christian Ramac, Ricky Salgado, Ronnie Dela Cruz, and Joel Reyes pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of accomplice to the crime of murder.

Villamor, serving a sentence since 2019 for murder, frustrated murder, and violation of an election gun ban, allegedly relayed the assassination order to self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial.

However, he met a mysterious death inside Muntinlupa City’s New Bilibid Prison when Percy Lapid’s demise began attracting significant attention.

According to forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun, Villamor succumbed to suffocation after a plastic bag was placed over his head.

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