Bureau of Corrections

BuCor chief Gerald Bantag declared persona non grata in Muntinlupa

Rambo Talabong
BuCor chief Gerald Bantag declared persona non grata in Muntinlupa

PERSONA NON GRATA. Gerald Bantag outside the New Bilibid Prison.

Rappler photo

This comes after the Bureau of Corrections failed to secure permits to build walls that blocked roads around the New Bilibid Prison compound

Following months of collision with its local government, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Director General Bantag was declared persona non grata in Muntinlupa City on Saturday, November 27.

The Muntinlupa City Council held an emergency session on Saturday evening passing 6 resolutions in relation to the BuCor erecting walls around the New Bilibid Prison compound – which has displaced residents and blocked them from moving freely in the city.

The council, through the resolutions, declared Bantag as persona non grata in Muntinlupa, called on the Senate to probe BuCor’s construction of road-blocking walls, and urged President Rodrigo Duterte to “recall” and “overturn” Bantag’s actions.

What walls?

Citing security, the Bureau of Corrections has erected at least 3 walls around the NBP compound. In all these constructions, it neither consulted with affected residents nor sought a permit from the Muntinlupa government, its officials said.

It came to a head when the latest wall –  which blocked passage to and from Katarungan Village 1 and Katarungan Village 2 – was torn down by its frustrated residents.

The BuCor escalated. After its wall was torn down, it destroyed the road, according to the Muntinlupa local government. The local government posted a video on Saturday showing a ruined road being dug by a backhoe as people watched.

What now?

Bantag was summoned by Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to explain the situation. Guevarra, however, has little power over Bantag.

He admitted to a text to the Inquirer.net that he could only advise Bantag of what to do, but could not order him to stop.

In a statement, the BuCor said it blocked the roads to prevent “illegal activities,” adding affected residents can use alternate routes to pass through. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.