PNP: Bantag never a police officer | Inquirer News

PNP: Bantag never a police officer

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:46 AM June 22, 2023

Gerald Bantag. STORY: PNP: Bantag never a police officer

FILE PHOTO: Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Fugitive former jails chief Gerald Bantag was never a police officer and the Philippine National Police will arrest anyone, regardless of rank or stature, who is wanted by the law, according to PNP public information office chief Brig. Gen. Redrico Maranan.

Maranan issued the statement on Wednesday to correct the erroneous claim of lawyer Jose Dominic Clavano IV, spokesperson for the Department of Justice (DOJ), that Bantag was a police officer who had a network within the PNP that made his arrest difficult.


“The [PNP] would like to clarify that Mr. Gerald Bantag [was never] a member of the Philippine National Police… He used to be a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) officer before his appointment in the Bureau of Corrections,” Maranan said in a statement on Tuesday.


Based on public records, Bantag was a member of the 1996 Kaagapay Class of the Philippine National Police Academy, but did not enlist with the PNP and instead entered the BJMP, eventually becoming the first four-star general among his batchmates.

“We want to emphasize that, irrespective of one’s rank, stature, or source of commission of any officer, the PNP will arrest any individual who has violated the law. The achievements of our police tracker teams exemplify our record in arresting wanted persons,” Maranan said.

Bantag and his deputy Ricardo Zulueta are wanted for the October 2022 killings of radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa (also known as Percy Lapid) and Cristito Palaña (alias Jun Villamor), an inmate of New Bilibid Prison who is believed to have recruited the hit men who killed Mabasa.

The Las Piñas and Muntinlupa courts hearing the cases issued the warrants of arrest for the two in April, six months after the two personalities were killed.

According to Maranan, since the issuance of the arrest warrants against Bantag and Zulueta, tracker teams of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group have been “working round the clock and at all times in support of the National Bureau of Investigation and other officers of the law to apprehend the fugitives promptly.”

The DOJ and the NBI raised a P2-million reward for any information that could lead to Bantag’s arrest and another P1 million for Zulueta’s.


On Tuesday, Clavano told reporters that Bantag, “as a police officer, had a certain network as well within the police and I guess also in other law enforcement agencies, which makes it a little bit tricky,” prompting Maranan to issue the clarification. Clavano has apologized for the mistake.

Clavano made the remark after he was asked to update the status of Bantag, who has been a fugitive since April. He twice signified his intention to surrender, but he never turned up to face the charges.


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

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

Bantag faces grave coercion case for alleged prison shooting cover up

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TAGS: Gerald Bantag, Percival Mabanta, Percy Lapid, Phiippine National Police

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