Quezon City

Assailants shoot BuCor chief Catapang’s vehicle

Jairo Bolledo

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Assailants shoot BuCor chief Catapang’s vehicle

ATTEMPT. Assailants fire at BuCor chief Gregorio Catapang Jr.'s vehicle, whom he lent to his deputy, Al Perreras. None of the officials were onboard the vehicle when the incident happened.

Bureau of Corrections

The BuCor says no one was harmed in the incident

MANILA, Philippines – Unidentified assailants fired at the vehicle owned by Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. on Tuesday, March 19, but no one among its passengers were injured, said the BuCor.

At around 6:30 am on Tuesday, the assailants shot Catapang’s silver Toyota Hilux, which the BuCor chief lent to his deputy Al Perreras. The BuCor deputy director general was not onboard the car during the incident.

Meanwhile, the vehicle’s driver, security escort CO1 Cornelio Colalong and passenger, security escort CO1 Leonardo Cabaniero, did not sustain any injury in the shooting.

The BuCor said the security escorts were traveling northbound along the Skyway, on their way to Quezon City to fetch Perreras, when the suspects onboard a gray Toyota Vios fired at the BuCor’s vehicle.

“The vehicle was hit at the rear windshield which shattered the bullet proof glass without penetration but the trajectory of the bullet was towards the passenger front side of the vehicle where Perreras usually sits,” the BuCor said, adding that the suspects immediately drove towards Skyway’s Nagtahan exit in Manila.

Perreras refused to give any comment, but the BuCor said he already instructed his team to report the attack. In the statement, Catapang also said that he and Perreras have been receiving death threats after they assumed the bureau’s leadership and initiated some reforms.

When Malacañang suspended then-BuCor chief Gerald Bantag over his alleged involvement in the killing of broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa, Catapang temporarily took the helm in October 2022. Catapang was a retired full general and served as the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ chief of staff from July 2014 to July 2015.

In March 2023 – five months after his temporary appointment – he was formally named the BuCor chief by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Under his term so far, Catapang made major moves in the corrections bureau. Catapang initiated the transfer of persons deprived of liberty from New Bilibid Prison to regional facilities in a bid to improve the country’s prison system.

The BuCor chief also went after his predecessor Bantag over the latter’s alleged crimes. In January 2023, the BuCor filed complaints vs Bantag for allegedly torturing Bilibid gang leaders. A month later, the bureau also sued Bantag over plunder and graft for allegedly rigging a bidding of P1 billion-worth of projects. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.