Leila de Lima: Order to suspend BuCor’s Bantag ‘right move, big first step’
MANILA, Philippines — Detained former senator Leila de Lima on Friday lauded the Marcos administration’s decision to suspend Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag, saying it was “the right move” and a “big first step.”
Bantag’s suspension came amid investigations on the death of an alleged middleman in the assassination of broadcaster Percy Lapid,
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said he ordered the suspension of Bantag upon the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“[Interior Secretary Benhur] Abalos has every right to be incensed about the death of the alleged middleman in the slaying of Percy Lapid,” de Lima said.
“And the suspension of the [former President Rodrigo] Duterte-appointed BuCor Dir. Gen. on PBBM’s order is the right move, a big 1st step,” she added.
SILG Abalos has every right to be incensed about the death of the alleged middleman in the slaying of Percy Lapid. And the suspension of the Duterte-appointed BuCor Dir. Gen. on PBBM's order is the right move, a big 1st step.
— Leila de Lima (@AttyLeiladeLima) October 21, 2022
She brought up the “suspicious deaths” at NBP and urged that Bantag should be investigated.
“Bantag must be thoroughly investigated. Under his watch, there has been quite a no. of suspicious deaths within NBP,” said de Lima.
Lapid, a critic of the Duterte and Marcos administrations, was ambushed in Las Piñas City on October 3.
Suspect Joel Escorial admitted to killing Lapid supposedly upon the instruction of “someone from Bilibid.”
Bilibid is the common term for the NBP – the country’s main penitentiary managed by the Bureau of Corrections under the Department of Justice – located in Muntinlupa City.
A few days after Escorial was presented to the public, government officials said the alleged middleman, Crisanto Palana Villamor, was reported “dead on arrival” at the NBP hospital.
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