Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla encouraged the suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag this Wednesday to file a counter affidavit, believing that the mastermind behind the killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid is still in the Philippines.
“I would say so because remember they’re government officials,” Remulla told reporters when asked if Bantag was still in the country.
“Hindi ka puwedeng umalis ng Pilipinas kapag wala kang (You cannot leave the Philippines without) travel authority. Unless they secured passports that did not reflect their true professions,” added Remulla.
He also called on Bantag to file a counter affidavit and told him not to respond to the allegations through the media.
“Walang drama-drama. Face it like a man. Kung ‘di ka lalaki, if you cannot face it, then what are you? Face it. Ang dami-daming drama,” added Remulla.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said this Wednesday that Bantag and BuCor officer Ricardo Zulueta, the alleged masterminds of the plan to kill Lapid, is still in the Philippines.
The NBI and the Philippine National Police filed murder charges on Monday against Bantag, Zulueta, and others for the killing of Lapid, and the alleged middleman, Jun Villamor (Cristito Villamor Palaña), a person deprived of liberty at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), managed by the BuCor.
BuCor chief Bantag urged to file counter affidavit
Lapid was shot in Las Piñas City on October 3. Villamor was killed inside the NBP.
The autopsy conducted by forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun revealed that Villamor’s remains had a “history of asphyxia by plastic bag suffocation.”
NBI supervising agent Atty Eugene Javier said they are trying to get a precautionary hold departure order against Bantag and Zulueta.
Meanwhile, Remulla announced that they received new information this Tuesday that Bantag allegedly did not attend the NBP graduation ceremony on September 9 because he got angry when Lapid apparently went to his residence in Laguna to take pictures of his house and cars.
According to Remulla, the information they gathered is a significant lead.
Remulla said Lapid released on September 15 the story about “Cinderella Man,” which allegedly refers to Bantag.
On September 17, Remulla said the plan to kill Lapid had begun.