Ombudsman junks Bantag’s case vs Remulla, Catapang over Lapid’s slay
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the administrative complaint filed against Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) head Gregorio Catapang.
The complaint was filed against Remulla and Catapang early this year by former BuCor Director Gerald Bantag.
In a complaint filed last January 4 before the Ombudsman, Bantag through his lawyer Rocky Thomas Balisong sought the immediate preventive suspension of Remulla and Catapang to pave the way for their investigation in connection with the killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid on October 3, 2022.
Bantag, through his counsel, wants the suspension of Remulla and Catapang and prevent them from interfering and exerting undue pressure and influence on possible witnesses and the investigators in the case.
Bantag urged the Ombudsman to file administrative cases of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and conduct unbecoming of a public official against the two government officials.
But the Ombudsman, in its resolution made public Friday, said the complaint lacks probable cause and lacks substantial evidence.
“It has been evident from the start that this case was nothing more than a political maneuver intended to divert public attention from the serious charges against the complainant, former Director General Gerald Bantag,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement.
It added that “the unfounded accusations against our esteemed officials were merely a ploy to overshadow the murder charges that Bantag is currently facing. The course of justice cannot be manipulated or swayed by tactics of distraction or defamation. It is a process that respects the truth above all else, and is vigilant against any attempts to undermine its credibility and impartiality.”
Warrants of arrest have already been issued against Bantag for the death of Percival Mabasa or Percy Lapid and the death of a Bilibid inmate Jun Villamor.