BuCor to file plunder case vs. Bantag over release of construction funds

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 25) — Acting Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gregorio Catapang on Wednesday said they plan to soon file a plunder case against suspended BuCor chief Gerald Bantag regarding the questionable release of funds for the construction of prison facilities worth ₱1 billion.

“Hopefully this Friday or early next week because you have to document this properly so that you have sufficient evidence to file a case against him,” Catapang told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

He claimed they already have the evidence to prove that around ₱300 million was released even if the project was unfinished.

Catapang said they will be meeting with Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) authorities on Wednesday to ask them how to go about the filing of a plunder case.

The AMLC will also be tapped to look into the bank accounts of Bantag and his family members to know if there was a transfer in the released money, Catapang added.

Meanwhile, more BuCor personnel and inmates are willing to testify regarding the abuse and torture they experienced during Bantag’s time as director general, Catapang said.

He noted that there are up to two persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) who witnessed the death of their fellow inmate and they want to testify.

The acting BuCor chief said there was indeed abuse of power during Bantag’s time.

Catapang said at least 20 of Bantag’s people who occupied key positions in the bureau’s directorial staff and the prison penal colonies, eventually becoming a syndicate.

“That’s why the mission of BuCor failed because you can just imagine the inmates were dying, they even forgot to bury them,” Catapang noted.

“It is only now that these personnel who were tortured, maltreated by Bantag are talking because during those times, he ruled in a strong arm that nobody wanted to testify against him,” he added.

CNN Philippines has reached out to Bantag’s camp for comment.