Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday advised former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag to surrender and "face the music" after a Muntinlupa Court issued a warrant of arrest against him.
“Just face the music. If you think you are innocent just come in to face the music. Ano naman yan eh… the judges will be able to know if the truth is there,” Remulla said in an ambush interview.
The Muntinlupa RTC Branch 206 issued the warrant — dated April 12, 2023 — against Bantag and former BuCor deputy officer Ricardo Zulueta in connection to the death of broadcaster Percy Lapid and alleged middleman Jun Villamor.
According to Remulla, the warrant is part of due process.
“The wheels of justice are turning so it’s a welcome development,” he said.
When asked about the next move of the Department of Justice, Remulla said it is now up to law enforcement and the prosecutors.
“Kumbaga, we take custody of him. Hopefully, we can arrest him or he will surrender. Hopefully,” he said.
The Justice secretary said there is also a protocol on how to handle individuals who have to be arrested.
“So we will let the protocol of the law, the way that it runs, run its course. Yun naman talaga ang nangyayari kapag may warrant of arrest. Sine-serve yan in due time,” Remulla said.
(That's what happens if there's a warrant of arrest. It will be served in due time.)
GMA News Online has reached to Bantag's lawyer, Atty. Rocky Balisong, for his comment, but he has yet to respond.
Meanwhile, Zulueta's legal counsel, Atty. Lauro Gacayan, said they have yet to receive the arrest warrant.
In March, prosecutors of the Department of Justice indicted Bantag and Zulueta for two counts of murder.
Lapid was shot dead in Las Piñas City on October 3, 2022, while Villamor died at the New Bilibid Prison on October 18. An autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun showed the remains of Villamor to have a “history of asphyxia by plastic bag suffocation.”
Bantag has denied allegations against him and claimed they were all "fabircated". —VAL, GMA Integrated News