Suspended BuCor chief Bantag: ‘I would rather die, than be jailed’
MANILA, Philippines — Suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director-general Gerald Bantag on Sunday said he would rather die than be jailed over his alleged involvement in the murder of radio commentator Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa.
The suspended BuCor chief also reiterated his innocence.
“Will I allow myself to be imprisoned? Just kill me if they say that I am their target. The government and I will just end up trying to kill each other,” Bantag said in Filipino in his “Komentunying” interview with Anthony Taberna.
Bantag was suspended by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, to allow for an investigation into the death of Crisanto Villamor Jr.
Villamor who was reportedly the alleged middleman in the plot to kill Lapid, died shortly after the alleged gunman, Joel Escorial, surrendered to police.
Bantag also hinted that he felt abandoned with his suspension, adding that the situation now is no longer how it was during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Even an ant, no matter how small it is, will bite. The spirit to fight remains. But it’s not like it was before when we had President Digong [Rodrigo Duterte]. We draw our courage from him,” he said.
President warned on appointment of BuCor execs
Bantag then warned President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to be “watchful” of those he will appoint to positions at the BuCor, specifically BuCor officer-in-charge and former Armed Forces chief-of-staff Gregorio Catapang Jr., whom he said could be the president’s “downfall.”
“All I can say to our dear president is to be watchful of who he puts in power because that might be his downfall. Doesn’t he know that Gen. Catapang was a member of the RAM [Reform the Armed Forces Movement], who also ousted his father?” Bantag said.
“Doesn’t he know that it was Catapang who placed questionables there now? You need to be watchful, Mr. President, because this may be your downfall.”
In the same interview, Bantag also expressed support for the fight to serve justice in Lapid’s case.
Bantag was among the government officials who had been sharply criticized by Mabasa in his “Lapid Fire” radio program that was also livestreamed on his YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Lapid was gunned down by motorcycle-riding men while inside his car at the gate of a Las Piñas City subdivision.
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WHAT WENT BEFORE: Who is Gerald Bantag?
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