Bantag's case archived pending arrest over Bilibid inmate's death | Inquirer News

Bantag’s case archived pending arrest over Bilibid inmate’s death

/ 03:16 PM June 29, 2023

Ex-BuCor chief Gerald Bantag has "never been a member" of the police force, the PNP says

Former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag (INQUIRER FILES)

MANILA, Philippines – A Muntinlupa City court has archived the case against former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag and his deputy, Ricardo Zulueta, pending their arrest for the killing of Bilibid inmate Jun Villamor, the middleman for the death of broadcaster Percival Mabasa or Percy Lapid.

In an order dated June 27,  Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 206 Judge Gener Gito said the archiving of the case will be revived upon their arrest.


“Considering that the other accused in this case, accused Director General Gerald Bantag and Senior Superintendent Ricardo Zulueta not yet arrested, let this case be sent to the archive subject to revival upon the arrest of said accused,” Gito’s seven-page order said.


The Department of Justice earlier offered a P3 million reward to anyone who can provide information on Bantag and Zulueta, who both remain at large despite the issuance of a warrant of arrest by the Muntinlupa RTC and the Las Pinas City RTC for Lapid’s killing.

Bantag and Zuleta were indicted as “principal by inducement” for the death of Lapid and Bilibid inmate Jun Villamor.

Under Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) Circular 7-A-92 which was re-issued in 2004, a criminal case may be archived if, after the issuance of an arrest warrant, the accused remains at large for six months.

While the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Bantag is still in the country, Spokesperson Jose Dominic Clavano said arresting him is a bit tricky as he has a certain network with the Philippine National Police (PNP), being a graduate of the Philippine National Police Academy.

Bantag’s counsel, Atty. Rocky Balisong said the archiving of the case is the appropriate move to take.

“It is well within their right to plead guilty, (referring to Bantag’s eight other co-accused). As regards the archiving of the case, it is correct because the court has not yet acquired jurisdiction over the person of Bantag and Zulueta,” he said.


Bantag’s eight co-accused face jail terms over Bilibid convict’s death

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TAGS: Bucor, court, DoJ, Gerald Bantag, Lapid

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