President Rodrigo Duterte has designated former jail warden Gerald Bantag, who was charged with 10 counts of murder for a 2016 explosion at the Parañaque City Jail, as the new director-general of the Bureau of Corrections.
Bantag’s appointment came days after Duterte’s longtime aide Senator Christopher Go said the next BuCor chief should be a “killer.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said, the cases against Bantag are still pending in court. Guevarra told anila Standard that there is no issue in Bantag’s appointment since he has not yet been convicted.
READ: 10 murders linked to mess at BuCor
Bantag, who serves as regional director of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology MIMAROPA, was designated by the President as the new BuCor director-general based on his professional competence and honesty, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement sent to reporters Tuesday.
He was also a former warden of Manila and Parañaque City Jail.
In 2017, Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 274 issued a warrant of arrest against Bantag, who was then a warden at Parañaque City Jail, over a bomb explosion at the city jail in 2016 where 10 inmates were killed, including two Chinese nationals who faced drug charges.
Also in 2016, Manila City Jail inmates held a noise barrage to dramatize their call to oust him as jail warden.
The inmates have opposed the segregation or reclassification of drug offenders in the jail, a measure Bantag implemented.
In 2007, he was charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to kill a teenager in Caloocan City.
Panelo said the Palace welcomes Bantag’s appointment as BuCor director-general as the bureau faces allegations of corrupt practices.
“The Palace is behind the President’s decision and is confident that DG Bantag will continue the administration’s campaign against corruption as he spearheads reform initiatives in the Bureau,” Panelo said.
His designation came a week after the President fired former BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon over the questionable implementation of the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law.
Asked to react to Bantag’s appointment, Guevarra said: “The President is not required to consult me before making this appointment. I’m sure the President has good reasons for appointing Gerald Bantag as the new Bucor chief.” With Rey E. RequejoREAD: Lawmakers want justice to rein in BuCor officers
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