Percy Lapid's family dares Bantag: Show up, answer murder raps

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2022 02:55 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2022 04:21 PM

ABS-CBN News/File
Bureau of Corrections director general Gerald Bantag rides a horse as he poses in front of the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City on July 31, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The family of Percival Mabasa on Wednesday challenged suspended prisons bureau chief Gerald Bantag to receive the subpoena in connection to the murder of the veteran broadcaster.

"Sagutin niya 'yung reklamo. Magpakita siya. Hindi pa naman ito warrant of arrest," said Roy Mabasa, the journalist's brother and spokesperson of their family. 

"Pinasasagot pa lang siya. Marami siyang puwedeng sabihin dito. Malay natin siya'y magsabi ng totoo at magsabi na meron pang ibang tao sa likod niyan," he told ANC's "Headstart". 

(He should answer the complaint. Show up. This is not a warrant of arrest. He is just being asked to respond. He could say a lot. Perhaps he would tell the truth and reveal that someone else is behind this.)

The Department of Justice ordered Bantag to appear in its preliminary investigation hearings on Nov. 23 and Dec. 5.

The DOJ warned that failure to attend the preliminary investigation shall be considered as waiver to present his defense and the case shall be submitted for resolution.

The subpoena was served in Bantag's last known address in Caloocan City. He and his family have reportedly moved since his appointment as Bureau of Corrections director general.

Lawyer Rocky Balisong, Bantag's legal counsel, has said they have yet to receive the subpoena as his client is currently in Baguio City.

Bantag is not hiding from authorities and is ready to answer the allegations against him, Balisong added.

Percival Mabasa, who went by the name "Percy Lapid" on his program, was shot dead in Muntinlupa City on Oct. 3 as he drove to his studio.

Police alleged that Bantag was behind the murder along with his deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta.

Bantag supposedly ordered the murder of the 63-year-old Mabasa after he aired allegations of corruption on his late-night radio show against the official, according to the National Bureau of Investigation.

Bantag and Zulueta have also been accused of ordering the killing of Cristito Villamor Palana, a prison inmate who allegedly passed on the kill order to the gunman.

Palana was suffocated with a plastic bag by members of his own gang, according to a second, independent autopsy.

Bantag, who said he had nothing to do with the killing, maintained that he would only cooperate if Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla resigned from his post.

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— With a report from Agence France-Presse