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2 Bilibid gang commanders say Bantag stabbed them, eye filing raps

Two gang leaders at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) are looking to file charges against suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag after he allegedly stabbed them while drunk inside the national penitentiary.

According to Oscar Oida’s report on “24 Oras” on Monday, victims Ronald Usman and Jonathan Cañeta sustained stab wounds on their arms and legs following the incident.

The victims recalled being summoned by the suspended official to his office on February 1. Eleven other gang commanders were there.

Upon their arrival, they said they noticed Bantag drinking with two other commanders, already intoxicated.

Cañete said Bantag approached them one by one.

He said Bantag poked him with a sharp object on the chest.

Hurt, Cañete said he parried the blade. He said this angered Bantag who then stabbed him on the leg.

Usman also recalled being assaulted by Bantag.

He said Bantag stabbed his hand.

Bantag is temporarily suspended from his post due to his alleged involvement in the killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid.

Both prisoners said a certain “Zulueta” approached them the next day and paid them P50,000 each to remain silent. They did not clarify who the official is but said  Deputy Bucor Security Officer Ricardo Zulueta is a close ally of Bantag.

“Sabi nila samin 'pag di niyo tinanggap to, mas lalo kayong namomroblema dito.' Parang may kasama na..tatakutin pa kami," Cañete said.

"Ang sabi ko 'sir, maniwala po kayo samin walang lalabas na ano kasi...palaya na rin ako kaya tiniis ko na lang. Tinanggap ko 'yung P50,000 tumutulo luha ko,” he added.

(They told us that if we won’t accept it then there will be more problems for us. I told them we won’t say anything. I am about to finish my jail time so I endured it. I accepted the P50,000 while crying.)

Usman and Cañete said they are now mulling pressing charges against the suspended police official after months of silence.

Meanwhile, BuCor Officer-in-charge Gregorio Catapang Jr. said the BuCor was willing to help the victims in filing the case.

“Ipapasa ko na yan sa Commission on Human Rights. Sila na mag-document niyan kasi nga gusto namin bagong BuCor eh. Di tayo... may mga karapatan sila,” Catapang said.

(We will forward their complaints to the CHR and they will document it. We want reform in the BuCor. Detainees have rights too.)

GMA News reached out to Bantag for his statement but has yet to respond. —Sundy Locus/NB, GMA Integrated News

Tags: news, metro, NBP