Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has expressed support to Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Officer-in-Charge Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr. for the filing of a plunder complaint against suspended BuCor Director General Gerald Q. Bantag.
“He (Catapang) is a very responsible person. He knows what he’s doing,” Remulla said, even as he has yet to know the details of the plunder charge. “He will advise me properly on that matter,” Remulla added.
On Monday, Catapang said he is preparing a plunder case against Bantag and the complaint will hopefully be filed after Christmas.
“I am finalizing the filing of the plunder case because there is someone who is willing to become state witness,” he said on Wednesday.
But Catapang did not reveal the name of the supposed state witness.
Under Republic Act No. 7080, the crime of plunder “is the accumulation of iII-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt criminal acts in the aggregate amount of P75 million by a public official.” The crime is punishable by life imprisonment.
Earlier, Catapang revealed that P1 billion has been allotted for building more prison cells, but he found out that the project was only 60 percent completed.
Aside from the plunder complaint, Bantag would be facing a series of criminal complaints, Catapang said.
Bantag has been charged in two complaints for murder for the deaths of radio commentator Percival “Percy Lapid” C. Mabasa and inmate Cristito Villamor Palana, the alleged middleman of self confessed gunman Joel S. Escorial in the killing of the broadcaster last Oct. 3 in Las Piñas City.
Bantag meanwhile denied claims that he stabbed two gang leaders at the NBP. Catapang Jr. earlier said they have received Cañeta and Usman’s affidavit, noting that the complaint may be for physical harm or physical injury.
Bantag’s lawyer Rocky Balisong said that they will await the documents of the complaint, but stressed that his client told him on Wednesday that he does not recall any incident wherein he hurt the inmates.
Moreover, Balisong said that they already received the position of the family of Lapid, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) regarding the Bantag camp’s motion for inhibition against a panel of prosecutors.