DOJ says ready to arrest Bantag if surrender feelers deemed as distraction

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 19) — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday said it is ready to go after former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag if they feel that his surrender feelers are being used to distract authorities.

“We have eyes and ears for Mr. Bantag so at any time that the secretary feels that these talks on surrender are a way to distract or to cover up what he’s really trying to do then we will have to come in with force already,” DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

In April, a Las Piñas court issued an arrest warrant against Bantag, as well as former Deputy Security Officer Ricardo Zulueta, and three others for the murder of broadcaster Percival "Percy Lapid" Mabasa. 

A Muntinlupa court also issued an arrest warrant against Bantag and Zulueta for orchestrating the murder of New Bilibid Prison inmate Jun VIllarmor, an alleged middleman in Mabasa’s murder.

Clavano said they are still waiting for more details regarding Bantag’s plan to surrender.

Bantag has so far sent two feelers, one through a Cabinet official and another through a law enforcement officer, DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla earlier said.

Remulla has said authorities are open to offering the two former officials detention options given their security concerns and history at the BuCor. 

The DOJ is also set to file torture charges against Bantag for allegedly stabbing two inmates in the New Bilibid Prison last year.