Mistake in Bantag subpoena won’t affect murder raps – SOJ

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 24) — An error in the middle name of suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag in the subpoena will not affect the murder charges he’s facing, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Thursday.

Bantag’s lawyer, Rocky Balisong, raised this during Wednesday’s preliminary investigation, saying the summons over the killing of broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa and of alleged middleman Jun Villamor could refer to another person.

The subpoena used “Soriano” as Bantag’s middle name instead of “Quitaleg.”

However, prosecutor Charlie Guhit said this was corrected, adding a new subpoena was issued and received by Balisong.

On the absence of Bantag’s co-respondent, BuCor deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta, Remulla said he asked the National Bureau of Investigation to contact Zulueta’s family. His lawyer was also a no-show at the preliminary probe.

Meanwhile, the justice chief also rejected appeals to allow media coverage of the hearing.

“May privacy rights pa tayo kasi may presumption of innocence. Pag ginawa natin ‘yun, parang tayo rin ang nag co-condemn ng kapwa. We don’t really want to make a spectacle out of (the) proceeding,” Remulla said.

[Translation: We have privacy rights, because there is a presumption of innocence. If we cover the hearing, it’s as if we’re condemning the suspects. We don’t really want to make a spectacle out of the proceeding.]

The preliminary investigation will resume on Dec. 5, where the respondents are expected to file their counter-affidavits.