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Remulla denies Bantag’s ‘railroading’ claim

November 22, 2022 Hector Lawas 294 views

JUSTICE Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Tuesday belied the claim of suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is “railroading” the murder complaints to pin him down in the killings of broadcaster Percy Lapid and middleman Jun Villamor.

Interviewed over CNN Philippines’ The Source, Remulla pointed out that while the DOJ will prosecute the hugely controversial twin murders and the court will still decide if Bantag is innocent or not.

“The DOJ’s role is to prosecute, so I don’t see where ‘luto’ (railroading) is. The judge will determine whether or not the case is valid. Drama lang yan. Face the music because that’s what criminal cases are about. You have to account for what you did. I didn’t see merit [in] what he is saying, ” Remulla said.

When asked if Bantag refuses to surrender after a warrant of arrest is issued against him, Remulla said: “Magiging wanted siya. Flight is an indication of guilt. The more guilty he will appear if he doesn’t show up.”

As this developed, Remulla said during the same interview that the continued absence of BuCor deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta Bantag’s alleged right hand will not affect the two murder complaints filed before the DOJ.

Zulueta reportedly ordered an inmate in Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan to carry out the kill order from Bantag, down to self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial.

“It will not affect the case if Zulueta surrenders or not. His role is important, but if he does not appear or if something happens to him, what can we do? Justice cannot halt, it has to continue,” Remulla said.

Zulueta was Bantag’s co-accused in the deadly Parañaque City Jail grenade explosion in 2016, where ten inmates died.

They were both acquitted, along with another prison officer, due to insufficient evidence.

“We are still presuming that he is alive. And we will continue to look for him. The case will start with or without him because what can we do?” Remulla said.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine National Police (PNP) have filed two murder complaints against Bantag and several others, including gang leaders, in connection with the two murders.