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Remulla endorses plunder complaint vs. Bantag to Ombudsman

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Monday said he has endorsed the plunder complaint filed against suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag to the Office of the Ombudsman.

Last week, BuCor filed multiple complaints, including plunder and malversation of public funds, against Bantag over the alleged misappropriation of funds for three prison facilities.

“I have asked the prosecutors to transfer the case or to send the case to the Ombudsman because I believe that is not within our jurisdiction to rule over plunder cases,” Remulla said in an ambush interview.

According to Remulla, the case was within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman as Bantag allegedly committed the act while in office.

“Not only while in office but with these that have to do with the office itself. That’s why we believe that the elements that are stated in the complaint may very well be one that is within the cognizance of the Ombudsman and the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman,” he said.

He said he believes the Ombudsman had copies of the complaint already.

BuCor officer-in-charge Gregorio Catapang previously said that a P1 billion budget was given for the Davao Prison and Penal Farm, Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa, and the Leyte Regional Prison.

He said 95% of the fund have been utilized but only 60% of the prison facilities being built had been completed.—LDF, GMA Integrated News