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Bantag files complaint, says Remulla ‘mastermind’ in Lapid slay

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Suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag filed a complaint against Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the death of broadcaster Percy Lapid.

The information was confirmed by Bantag’s legal counsel, Rocky Balisong, GMA News reported.

The GMA News report said in the 15-page complaint dated January 4, Bantag accused Remulla and BuCor officer-in-charge Gregorio Catapang Jr. of murder, grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and conduct unbecoming of a public official.

Bantag’s camp claimed that Remulla was the mastermind behind the killing of Lapid and Jun Villamor, the inmate who allegedly acted as the middleman in the ploy.

Bantag said that Catapang consented to the transfer of the inmates from the New Bilibid Prison to the National Bureau of Investigation showed that he was in conspiracy with Remulla.

Bantag called on the Ombudsman to immediately issue preventive suspension orders against Remulla and Catapang and to conduct an investigation into the murders of Lapid and Villamor.

Other respondents in the complaint were inmates German Agojo, who supposedly received the order from Remulla to look for people to kill Lapid, Alfie Penaredondo, Aldrin Galicia, Mario Alvarez, and Alvin Labra, GMA News further reported.

Bantag earlier filed a complaint against Remulla on December 27, 2022

for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, libel, grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and conduct unbecoming of a public official.

This comes amid the DOJ’s investigation into the deaths of Lapid and Villamor.

Bantag, along with former BuCor deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta, was identified by authorities as the masterminds behind the killings.

They are facing two complaints for murder.

Reacting to the complaint, Remulla branded it as a “desperate act of a desperate person.” He also said that he did know Agojo.

“Ano yan, I don’t know where the legal theory is coming from, pero it’s okay. Ano yan eh, he’s trying to exhaust all his ano, all his possible remedies, which is to go against me personally, but it will not change anything,” Remulla said in an ambush interview.

“The cases will continue. Our job is to prosecute people. The DOJ is primarily the prosecutorial arm of the government and nobody else will do it, except us,” he added.

GMA News Online has sought Catapang for comment but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.

Bantag had also filed a filed a motion for inhibition to transfer the case from the DOJ to the Ombudsman, arguing that the panel is not expected to be impartial under the supervision of Remulla.

Lapid was shot dead in Las Piñas City on October 3 while Villamor died at the New Bilibid Prison.

An autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun showed the remains of Villamor to have a “history of asphyxia by plastic bag suffocation.”

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