‘Change now or be unlucky,’ Bantag warns inmates, BuCor staff
MANILA, Philippines — Change now, or else you will be unlucky.
This was the message of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag to prisoners and his personnel.
“Magbago na kayo. Kung hindi, mamalasin kayo,” he said in an interview at AM radio station DZMM, a few days after assuming his post.
“Let them try [to do otherwise]. As I said, we will see,” Bantag said in Filipino. “Let them try it, and I am here.”
And what would BuCor personnel and prisoners have to be afraid of under his leadership?
“Maybe what they should fear is this: No matter how much money they try to bribe me with, that’s nothing to me,” he said.
Bantag stressed that he did not accept the post to become rich but rather to simply fix the issues within BuCor.
He replaced Nicanor Faeldon, whom President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed amid controversies surrounding the implementation of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law that allowed the release of over nearly 2,000 heinous crime convicts.
The President defended Bantag’s appointment, saying that the latter had the experience needed for the job.
In 2017, Bantag was ordered arrest by the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 274 in connection with the 2016 explosion in the city jail that left 10 inmates dead.
“Well, I think the case is in court, he’s facing homicide charges. I don’t think that he did it. If he did, then maybe he will be convicted. But in the meantime, I want him [for the post],” the President, speaking partly in Filipino, told reporters in a recent interview in Malacañang.
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.