Murder rap filed vs Bantag, 6 others for death of inmate who exposed jail anomalies | Inquirer News

Murder rap filed vs Bantag, 6 others for death of inmate who exposed jail anomalies

/ 07:10 PM August 29, 2023

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed another criminal complaint against former director of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Gerald Bantag and six others for the death of an inmate (person deprived of liberty or PDL) that maintained a social media account exposing anomalies within the penitentiary.

Aside from Bantag, facing a complaint for murder are deputy Ricardo S. Zulueta, General Victor Erick L. Pascua, and four persons deprived of liberty Rolando L. Villaver, Mark Angelo S. Lampera, Charlie S. Dacuyan, and Wendell P. Sualog.


The case was filed for the death of PDL Hegel Lapinig Samson. Samson died in 2020. An investigation by the NBI showed that he died of asphyxiation due to a plastic bag placed over his head.


Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the four PDLs came forward and gave their testimonies.

“There are four PDLs who confessed their participation and said that Samson died by putting plastic over his head,” Remulla told reporters.

The PDLs said they were asked by Bantag about the identity of “Leon Bilibid,” who was posting alleged prison anomalies on social media and was critical of the BuCor chief.

Mobile phones are prohibited inside the penitentiary, but inmates have managed to smuggle them inside.

“PDL Villaver conveyed that DG Bantag’s motive was to neutralize the criticism on social media directed at him for permitting contraband items, including alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, cellphones, and guns, to infiltrate the National Bilibid Prison,” read a briefer of the complaint.

Then, Zulueta eventually informed Villaver that the man behind “Leon Bilibid” was under his jurisdiction as mayor of Dorm 6A, identified as Angel Samson, whose real name was Hegel Samson.


“PDL Villaver was ordered to eliminate PDL Samson, with Correction Senior Officer General Eric Pascua reaffirming the directive of Zulueta,” the briefer added.

Bantag and Zulueta have been in hiding ever since both the Las Piñas and Muntinlupa Courts issued a warrant for their arrest for the death of broadcaster Percival Mabasa or Percy Lapid and another inmate Jun Villamor, the middleman that contacted confessed gunman Joel Escorial. Investigation showed that Villamor also died of asphyxiation by a plastic bag over his head.

Bantag and Zulueta remain at large.

“We are confident [that] we are on the right track regarding the capture of DG Bantag and he will be captured sooner than later,” Remulla said.


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TAGS: Bantag, Bucor, Gerald Bantag, Inmate, Murder

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