PNP to Bantag’s lawyer: Help us deliver subpoena at his current address
MANILA, Philippines — The lawyer of suspended Bureau of Corrections director general Gerald Bantag should assist authorities so they can deliver his subpoena at his present address.
Philippine National Police spokesperson Jean Fajardo made the call on Wednesday as authorities seek to hear Bantag’s side over allegations of his involvement in the killing of radio commentator Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa and the supposed middleman in the murder plot.
“We would like to take this opportunity to appeal to his counsel,” Fajardo told reporters in a media interview in PNP headquarters.
“Through his lawyer, sana po matulungan tayo na maipadala yung official subpoena kay DG Bantag [we hope you could help us bring the official subpoena to Bantag],” she added.
Fajardo noted that the lawyer showed up at the Department of Justice (DOJ) last November 11 so they could get a copy of the complaint lodged against Bantag.
On Tuesday, the DOJ prosecution panel handling Bantag’s case said they had served the subpoena at Bantag’s address in Caloocan.
However, a village captain told the subpoena server that Bantag had not stayed in the residence after he served as the top BuCor official, so only the village hall in Caloocan where Bantag previously stayed received the subpoena.
Fajardo said they would coordinate with the local police of Baguio City following reports that Bantag is currently staying somewhere in the city.
The DOJ’s panel of prosecutors said that Bantag’s failure to comply with the subpoena would be considered as a waiver to present his defense in the preliminary investigation and the case shall be considered submitted for resolution.
Bantag, however, said he would only show up if DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla resigns from his post.
It can be recalled that Remulla said Lapid’s expose may have prompted Bantag to order the killing of the broadcaster allegedly.
Lapid was ambushed and killed near his neighborhood in Las Piñas City on October 3. His death sparked widespread condemnation and a high-profile investigation.
Joel Escorial surrendered and was presented to the media on October 18, the same day Cristito Palaña, formerly identified by authorities as Jun or Crisanto Villamor, was reported dead inside the New Bilibid Prison.
Complaints were filed last November 7 against Bantag and other personalities implicated in the murder of Lapid before the DOJ’s Office of the Prosecutor General.
Bantag is being accused of giving the order to kill Lapid and Palaña.
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