Sacked BuCor exec says Bantag asked her to collect money from inmates
MANILA, Philippines — Senior Insp. Angelina Bautista, a relieved Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) official who is under investigation for alleged wrongdoing, said on Tuesday that she had quit her previous post in the bureau after its former chief, Gerald Bantag, ordered her to collect money from prominent inmates.
Among those inmates were convicted pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and drug queen Yu Yuk Lai, who died in 2021.
Bautista made the revelation on Tuesday during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on an alleged mass grave at the BuCor central office at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
Earlier, Sens. Francis Tolentino, who chairs the committee, and Ronald del Rosa had asked her about how she got to be a BuCor official.
Bautista said she became part of BuCor in September 2019, when Bantag was appointed as its chief, and she resigned on May 15, 2020.
“First of all, my son died. Secondly, we have different principles,” she said in Filipino, referring to Bantag. “He was asking me to collect [money] from Janet Napoles and Yu Yuk Lai.”
When asked if this line of questioning against Bautista was necessary since the inquiry was about the alleged mass grave, Tolentino said; “It’s part of our investigation. There is documentary evidence that is part of a free and open hearing. But we assured them that in the next hearing, they’ll be given a fair chance to counter whatever was said a while ago.”
Last Aug. 5, BuCor Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. relieved Bautista and another official, Chief Supt. Geraldo Aro, of their post as they were under investigation for alleged illegal activities.
Bautista was the head executive assistant and the acting chief of the Office of the Deputy Director General for Operations. Aro was chief of the directorate for administration and superintendent of the Davao Prison and Penal Farm.
Two days earlier, on Aug. 3, at a hearing of the House Committee Public Order and Safety, Santa Rosa City Rep. Dan Fernandez, who chairs the panel, accused Aro of being on the illegal drugs watchlist during the administration of then-President Rodrigo Duterte.
On the other hand, Fernandez accused Bautista of being the owner of a catering service that was awarded a P21-million contract to provide food for the inmates of the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City.
Bautista denied the accusation against her.