DOJ junks Bantag's bid to transfer complaint to Ombudsman

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 31)— Suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag failed in his bid to transfer the criminal complaint lodged against him to the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday denied Bantag's motion for reconsideration, which means the agency's panel of prosecutors will continue hearing his murder complaint in connection with the death of radio broadcaster Percival "Percy Lapid" Mabasa.

Bantag's lawyer, Rocky Balisong, said another hearing is set on Feb. 8 where respondents are required to submit their counter-affidavit.

But Balisong said they will still have to study their legal options.

"We have to respect kung ano ang disposition ng panel [the panel's disposition]," he told reporters. "In the same manner that we should be respected in whatever legal remedies that we'll have."

The DOJ, meanwhile, noted that failure to submit counter-affidavits will constrain it "to submit the case for resolution, given the limited period for the conduct of preliminary investigation."

READ: Bantag ready to face murder complaints, ponders fate in Lapid slay case

On the other hand, the Mabasa family said they want the preliminary investigation to be finished soon, and for prosecutors to file the case in court.

"Hopefully sa aming panig sana'y hindi na sila sumagot para mas mabilis para sa amin at ito'y madesisyonan na rin ng panel kung meron pong probable cause doon po sa kaso," the Mabasa camp said.

[Translation: Hopefully they don't respond so the proceedings can be faster for us, and that the panel can decide if there is probable cause.]