DOJ: Evidence collected in Percy Lapid slaying points to Bantag, not drug syndicates
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday said “all the evidence collected so far” in relation to the murder of Percy Lapid (real name: Percival Mabasa) points to suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag and other respondents, and not to drug syndicates.
In response to Bantag’s comments in a television interview implicating a drug lord in the killing of Lapid, the DOJ said Bantag’s words and actions “come from a misguided sense of betrayal.”
“Nobody wanted the evidence to point to Director-General Bantag,” the DOJ said in a statement read by its spokesperson Jose Dominic Clavano.
“In the words of Secretary [Jesus Crispin] Remulla, we hoped we could point [to] the drug syndicates as perpetrators,” Clavano added. “It was not good news when the evidence started to point to the respondents.”
Bantag is accused of ordering Lapid and supposed middleman Cristito Palaña’s murder. The DOJ-Office of the Prosecutor General filed murder complaints against Bantag and others on November 7.
“From all the evidence collected so far — the sworn statements of the PDLs, ballistics analysis, CCTV footage, the money trail, and all those other physical evidence gathered to boost the credibility of the statements — they all pointed to the respondents as perpetrators of the murder,” Clavano also said.
The DOJ also urged Bantag not to “muddle the issue” and not to “clutch at straws.”
“There is no other motive here than to bring out the truth and reality,” the spokesperson noted.
Lapid was killed in an ambush near his neighborhood in Las Piñas City on October 3. His death sparked widespread condemnation and a high-profile investigation.
Escorial surrendered and was presented to the media on October 18, the same day Palaña was reported dead inside the New Bilibid Prison, which the BuCor supervises under the DOJ.
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