DOJ on Bantag's accusations vs Remulla: 'Let us not muddle the issue'


Posted at Nov 11 2022 05:57 PM | Updated as of Nov 11 2022 06:56 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday released a statement responding to the accusations made by suspended Bureau of Corrections chief Gerald Bantag against Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla, telling Bantag to not "muddle the issue" and said his words and actions "come from a misguided sense of betrayal."

Bantag made several allegations in a television interview Friday morning, and urged Remulla to quit his post claiming he no longer has credibility.

The DOJ said Bantag and Remulla had a good relationship prior to the Percy Lapid case, adding that they talked about reforms.

It also said that nobody wanted Bantag to be implicated in the killing. 

But based on statements and other evidence, the DOJ said "they all pointed to the respondents as perpetrators of murder" in the Percy Lapid case.

Remulla earlier said he hoped the evidence would point to drug lords, not Bantag.

The DOJ said there is a "proper forum and the proper time to thresh these all out." 

Remulla has urged Bantag to submit his counter-affidavit, instead of responding through the media.

"There is no other motive than to bring out the truth and reality," the DOJ said.

Bantag's lawyer, Rocky Tomas Balisong, said they tried to prevent the suspended Corrections chief from spilling his accusations in the media because those were supposed to be used in their defense. 

The accusations, he said, were Bantag's conclusion "after showing everything" to them.

But they eventually allowed Bantag to speak up, saying the situation has become painful for him.

"Parang ginigipit siya talaga. Ang alam naman niya talaga ay wala siyang kinalaman dito," Balisong claimed.

(It seems like he's being harassed. What he knows is that he's innocent.)

The lawyer also said calls for Bantag to surrender were "premature" and "misplaced" because no warrant of arrest has been issued so far.

"Parang ang inaano nila sa mind of the public or in the eyes of the public is, parang ginagawang wanted na si General Bantag. So hindi naman totoo 'yun, hindi naman siya kailangan mag-surrender," he said.

(It's like they're trying to paint Bantag as a wanted person already. That's not true, there's no need for him to surrender.)

"At least kanina, nagpakita naman siya sa public na he is still in the Philippines."

(At least a while ago, he showed up in public and proved he is still in the Philippines.)

Balisong said there are fears for Bantag's safety, but the suspended official remains "security conscious."

—with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News