Department of Justice

‘Mastermind’ behind Percy Lapid’s death: Bantag accuses Remulla of murder

Jairo Bolledo
‘Mastermind’ behind Percy Lapid’s death: Bantag accuses Remulla of murder

SUSPENDED. Suspended Bureau of Corrections Director General Gerald Bantag shows up at the Department of Justice with his counsel, lawyer Rocky Balisong, to attend the continuation of the preliminary investigation into the killing of broadcaster Percival 'Percy Lapid' Mabasa, on December 5, 2022.

Rappler

(1ST UPDATE) Remulla immediately brushes aside Bantag's accusations against him, saying the complaints against the suspended corrections chief will still continue

MANILA, Philippines – Suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag filed a murder complaint against Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, accusing him of being the alleged mastermind behind Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa’s death.

In a 15-page complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, Bantag also accused Remulla of other alleged administrative violations. The complaint was made public on Thursday, January 5.

“COMPLAINANT, assisted by counsel, unto this Honorable Office, accuses the respondents for the crime of MURDER and administrative cases of Grave Misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and conduct unbecoming of a public official against respondents Sec. Jesus Crispin C. Remulla and Acting Dir. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, Jr.,” the complaint read.

Other respondents include:

  • Persons deprived of liberty (PDL): German Agojo, Alfie Peñaredondo, Aldrin Galicia, Mario Alvarez, and Alvin Labra

Remulla, in a chance interview with reporters on Thursday, brushed aside Bantag’s retaliation against him, saying the complaints against the suspended corrections chief will still continue.

Ano ‘yan eh (That is), he’s trying to exhaust all possible remedies, which is to go against me personally but it will not change anything. The cases will continue,” Remulla said.

In his complaint, Bantag also showed the alleged connection of Remulla to the death of Lapid and Jun Villamor, the alleged middleman inside the New Bilibid Prison, who contacted people to kill the broadcaster.

But Remulla said he does not know Agojo: “I don’t even know him. I never met him face to face.”

Bantag also urged the Ombudsman to impose a preventive suspension on both Remulla and Catapang, requesting the special court to probe into the death of Lapid and Villamor. Aside from the murder and administrative complaints, Bantag also filed complaints against Remulla for alleged libel and violation of section 3 (e) of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Bantag’s arguments

In his complaint, Bantag raised various arguments to pin down Remulla. The suspended BuCor chief said the DOJ chief was criticized by Lapid in his program back in 2020.

“In several episodes of his radio program LAPID FIRE, Percy Lapid hit and attacked Secretary Remulla. In his July 3, 2020 episode, Percy Lapid hit Secretary Remulla by calling him Bonjing and other insulting and damaging descriptions.”

Bantag also noted that on September 29, 2022, a few days before Lapid was killed, the broadcaster had hit the DOJ chief and said the latter “will destroy the image” of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The suspended BuCor chief added that Lapid said Remulla had been defending Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators and was “not ashamed” to defend them.

Aside from these, Bantag also explained the alleged connection between Remulla and Agojo.

“To prove the conspiracy, it is clear that Secretary Remulla and German Agojo know each other. Agojo had been applying for parole and Secretary Remulla knows about this,” Bantag alleged.

“Besides, Secretary Remulla caused the immediate transfer of Agojo to the NBI without his statements being taken despite the fact that he is a person of interest as stated by Secretary Remulla himself,” he added.

Lapid’s death in October 2022 once again revealed the cracks in the country’s jail and corrections system. Self-confessed gunman, Joel Escorial, revealed that he worked with Villamor and others to kill the broadcaster. Escorial later revealed a certain “Bantag” ordered them to kill Lapid.

Bantag, his “right hand” BuCor superintendent Ricardo Zulueta, and 10 other PDLs are facing murder complaints in relation to Lapid and Villamor’s death. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.