It appeares the murder of broadcaster Percival “Percy” Lapid is far from over following some issues that have cropped up, despite the filing of murder cases against suspended Bureau of Corrections chief Gerald Bantag and his deputy Ricardo Zulueta.
Santa Banana, the sudden disappearance of both Bantag and Zulueta, which definitely is proof of guilt, is another problem of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police! (Editor’s Note: Bantag has been interviewed by SMNI and other outlets and has said, replying to a question, that he is in the Philippines and his lawyers have, at this writing, not yet received any summons from the authorities).
Another problem which has cropped up is the speculation that a “tanda” (old man) could be implicated in the killings.
In fact, speculations have it that even former President Duterte could be implicated.
My gulay, there is also the issue of some 120 corpses (cadavers) discovered at the Eastern Funeral Parlor that came from the New Bilibid Prison, soon to be examined by the Philippine General Hospital pathologists for the cause of death, and some more 176 unclaimed corpses in the premises of the NBP.
Just how those inmates died and by what means is another issue considering that there are so many rival gangs behind bars.
And of course there is the discovery of thousands of cans of beers in the possession of prisoners said to have been sold to them inside the NBP at P1,000 or more and other contraband items like cellphones, gadgets, improvised knives and even illegal drugs like sachets of shabu, all of which can only indicate that prison guards and even officials are involved.
With all issues and happenings how can the authorities claim the murders of Percy Lapid and Cristito Villamor have been solved?
Far from it, with the NBP becoming a kingdom of criminal gangs and syndicates under the control of BuCor officials.
Just how Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla can end all these problems is another thing.
Can he do it alone ?
I believe that the problem is no longer just the problem of the Justice Department, but more of the problem of the Marcos Jr. administration, since it involves a total overhaul of the prison and jail system, in fact of the whole justice system.
In fact, this issue has spawned a bigger problem not only on relocating the NBP, which has been the dream of every administration before BBM.
Can BBM do it and how, that’s the question.
As I said earlier, the Percy Lapid case is far from over.
President Marcos Jr. himself said that BuCor Chief Bantag had run the NBP as his “fiefdom,” making it his own territory like his own personal kingdom.
Reports and discoveries at the NBP show to what extent graft and corruption in a government agency has gone to with discoveries about swimming pools, sari sari stores controlled by gang leaders.
Recall at one time, a high-profile drug lord had his own video room.
Santa Banana, prostitutes furnished by the NBP guards can be hired so long as the price is right.
Speaking of graft and corruption, the NBP takes the cake when notorious and high level inmates can engage in almost everything.
It is said that graft and corruption at the NBP could amount to several hundreds of millions of pesos a month.
The question now is : Should this corruption in government continue with almost everybody engaged in graft and corruption ?
Santa Banana, I thought that these things are fiction.
But, they do exist at the NBP. No wonder BBM does not want the closure of this case since it reflects to what extent graft and corruption has gone in a government agency like the jail and prison system.
This is one case where President Marcos Jr.’s determination to put an end to graft and corruption is being put to a test.
The sooner, the better.
After disappearing for several weeks after reported accounts that Bantag was the brains behind the murder of broadcaster Percy Lapid and the alleged “middleman” Cristito “Jun” Villamor, Bantag suddenly resurfaces online, denying any involvement in the killing of Lapid, ranting against Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying’ Remulla, for alleged loss of credibility, to the point of accusing him of smoking marijuana at the Cordilleras, the home of the Igorots, and pointing to a certain drug lord as the mastermind of all the killings.
This is laughable.
In the first place, why did Bantag and his assistant take flight if they are not guilty.
Flight is the surest sign of guilt when President Marcos Jr. said that Bantag ran the New Bilibid Prison like “his fiefdom,” which means that Bantag had control of the life and death of people behind bars.
My gulay, Bantag said that Secretary Remulla has no credibility.
Has Bantag any?
As to Bantag’s claim that Remulla smoked marijuana at the Cordilleras, his home ground, do you believe him?
As for Bantag’s claim that a drug lord was behind all the killings, how when this alleged drug lord did not have control of the NBP as Bantag had?
Whatever Bantag says at this point, like denying involvement in the murder of Lapid and Villamor, can no longer be believable.
If he can support and provide evidence to all his claims, Bantag should surface and surrender. Then he will have his day in court.
It is on record that as a journalist, I have been held in contempt by the Supreme Court twice.
First, when I exposed a Chief Justice for going to Hong Kong with his entire family, including his grandchildren, and billeted at the luxury hotel The Peninsula Hong Kong, totally at the expense of a well-known Chinese smuggler and drug lord.
And I had receipts from the Peninsula Hotel to prove it.
When I was called by the Supreme Court to appear before an executive session, I presented to the justices the receipts.
And I was asked to reveal my sources.
As a lawyer, fully acquainted with the Sotto Law, that journalists like me could not be forced to reveal their source, I refused to reveal my source.
For that I was held in contempt as a journalist, but as a lawyer I was fined P10,000 and/or a jail term of one year.
I refused to pay, but others paid for me against my will.
I tried to protest my contempt charge, for being held in contempt because I wrote that expose not as a lawyer, but as a journalist.
The second time I was held in contempt by the Supreme Court was when I wrote that the Supreme Court had been withholding the promulgation of its ruling that then Defense Secreray Juan Ponce Enrile could not be charged with an “impossible crime” of rebellion and murder, because that’s an impossible crime.
It has been ruled by the high court itself that the crime of rebellion already constituted the crime of murder.
But, a Supreme Court justice had informed me that a woman justice had been withholding the promulgation of the case.
That was when the late President Cory Aquino became President.
And yet I was held in contempt, not as a journalist for writing that expose, but as a lawyer for violating a Supreme Court ruling that lawyers and members of the Bar should not violate High Court rulings.
Again, I was fined P10,000 and/or a year imprisonment, which I refused to comply with.
I considered that Supreme Court ruling stupid and crazy, and I said so in my writings because I wrote that expose not as a lawyer, but as a journalist.
But, since it was a decision of the high court, I could no longer appeal or have the decision reconsidered.
Santa Banana, that ruling “In Re Jurado” was even made a Bar question under the Legal Ethics subject.
Wasn’t that crazy and stupid?
It did seem that the Supreme Court justices were just protecting a lady justice for delaying that promulgation because she was a very good friend of the late President Cory Aquino.
I am just recounting these instances where I was cited in contempt by the Supreme Court if only to show that the “gods of Padre Faura” could not be faulted and are infallible.
Santa Banana, from the Supreme Court where else will you go?