Go on new BuCor chief: ‘Bantag is not a killer’
MANILA, Philippines — Former Manila City Jail warden Gerald Quitaleg Bantag, who President Rodrigo Duterte named as the new chief of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), is not a killer, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said on Tuesday.
Go recalled that presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said what Malacañang was looking for was someone competent and honest.
“Bantag may be competent and honest,” Go, speaking partly in Filipino, told reporters at the Senate when asked if he had recommended for the post. “When I whispered ‘a killer,’ Panelo probably didn’t hear it.”
“Bantag is not a killer,” he added.
On Tuesday, Panelo announced that the President had appointed Bantag as BuCor chief amid controversies surrounding the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law that allowed for the release of over 1,900 heinous crime convicts.
In 2017, Bantag was ordered arrested by the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 274 in connection with the 2016 explosion in the city jail that left 10 inmates dead.
READ: 10 dead due to explosion inside Parañaque City Jail
Asked if Bantag’s integrity was already questionable due to his legal cases, Go said in Filipino: “He’s the President’s choice… It’s the President‘s prerogative to pick who he wants to head a bureau or an agency of the government.,” Go said.
“What’s important is for us to fix BuCor,” he added. “We all know the three campaigns that President Duterte and I share: our campaign against drugs, but there are drugs inside [the New Bilibid Prison]; our campaign against criminality, but there are crimes committed inside; and our campaign against corruption, but there are official who can be corrupted.”
Go said the only time would tell if Bantag could fix the irregularities in BuCor.
He had a message for the drug lords inside BuCor: “Get yourself admitted to the [NBP] hospital and stay there for a long time. It’s better if you just rest there in the hospital, give yourself dextrose, and pray — as you might not wake up anymore.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.