What makes Bantag’s arrest ‘a little bit tricky’? DOJ: police connections | Inquirer News

What makes Bantag’s arrest ‘a little bit tricky’? DOJ: police connections

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 09:01 AM June 20, 2023

The DOJ admits that the arrest of former BuCor Director Gerald Bantag is “a little bit tricky” since “he has certain networks within the police.”

The Department of Justice has released this “Wanted” poster showing former Bureau of Corrections Director Gerald Bantag and his deputy Ricardo Zulueta. Photo from DOJ

(UPDATED 1:25 p.m., June 21, 2023, to reflect the clarification of DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano.)

MANILA, Philippines — What makes the apprehension of ex-Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gerald Bantag “a little bit tricky” from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) perspective?


DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano noted that Bantag is a police officer himself. However, such a fact does not mean it has prevented them from investigating or trying to arrest the ex-BuCor official.


In an interview on Tuesday, Clavano was asked if the P2-million reward for Bantag’s arrest implies law enforcement’s negligence.

READ: TIMELINE: Veteran radioman Percy Lapid’s slay case

“The accused, as you may know, is also a police officer. He has certain networks within the police, which makes it a little bit tricky,” replied Clavano.

“I’m not saying it has impeded in any way our investigation or the attempt to arrest Bantag. It’s just that the public themselves, as the source of the funds, has also put emphasis upon resolving this case,” he explained over ANC.

READ: Arrest warrant out vs Bantag, Zulueta for assassination of Percy Lapid

On Wednesday, Clavano clarified that he attributed Bantag’s police connections to the fact that the former BuCor head is a graduate of the Philippine National Police Academy.


READ: PNP contradicts DOJ: Bantag has never been a police officer

Clavano likewise quickly explained during Tuesday’s interview that no public funds were used in the total P3 million reward for the arrest of Bantag and his deputy Ricardo Zulueta, emphasizing that the amount was raised by concerned groups and individuals “interested in keeping this case to continue moving forward.”

“It’s a very important case that involves media freedom, freedom of speech, and the right of citizens to life, so others see the importance in the gravity of this case. That’s why they came forward to assist,” he said.

READ: DOJ, NBI offer P2M reward for arrest of ex-BuCor chief Bantag; P1M for Zulueta

On Monday, the DOJ announced that a P2-million reward would be given to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest of Bantag. It added that another P1-million bounty is raised for the arrest of Zulueta.

According to Clavano, the reward was posted for two reasons: to expedite the case and streamline their information against Bantag.

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READ: Muntinlupa court orders arrest of ex-BuCor chief Bantag for murder of Bilibid inmate

TAGS: Bilibid, DoJ, Gerald Bantag

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