Bantag faces grave coercion case for alleged prison shooting cover up
MANILA, Philippines–A new complaint has been filed against former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gerald Bantag at the Metropolitan Trial Court in Muntinlupa City.
This time, the case involves grave coercion for allegedly forcing a prison guard to sign a report stating that there was no shooting incident at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) on March 2, 2020.
Aside from Bantag, former BuCor Deputy Director General for Administration Gabriel Chaclag was also charged with grave coercion in the same court.
Investigation showed Bantag and Chaclag had coerced one of the complainant prison guards to make him sign the document.
“Respondent Bantag and Chaclag, through the employment of violence, threats, and intimidation, as well as hurling unsavory words to complainants, had unlawfully forced [prison guard Richie] Canja to desist from filing a criminal complaint against Bantag’s men for the incident at the IPPF,” read the resolution from state prosecutors dated May 11, 2023 .
“Bantag and Chaclag, even if they were then the superior officers of the complainants, had no authority or any right to prevent Canja from filing a criminal case against those involved. As a result, Bantag and Chaclag should be held liable for the crime of grave coercion,” it resolved.
On the other hand, state prosecutors dismissed the complaints for grave threats, physical injuries, slander, obstruction of justice, and a case of violation of the Anti-Torture Act against them due to insufficiency of evidence.