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Remulla says Bantag expressed wish to surrender

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday said former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag, the alleged mastermind in the killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid, has expressed his wish to surrender.

In an ambush interview, Remulla said a colleague told him around five to six days ago that he received a call from Bantag.

“He spoke to my colleague, one of my colleagues, in the Cabinet to say that he may wish to surrender,” Remulla said.

“That’s why we’ are not pushing for law enforcement to hurry up the process. But of course, it is the job of law enforcement still to enforce the warrant of arrest,” he added.

Remulla said he will follow up on the offer with his colleague.

Atty. Rocky Balisong, Bantag’s legal counsel, told GMA News Online that his client did not tell him about the call and could not confirm it.

He said he will talk to Bantag about it “when necessary.”

Balisong, meanwhile, declined to comment when asked when he last spoke to Bantag.


Meanwhile, when asked if former BuCor deputy officer Ricardo Zulueta also wanted to surrender, Remulla said it was only Bantag who called.

“It was only Bantag who called up. I don’t know about Zulueta,” he said.

Remulla said a hold departure order will also be automatically issued once a court issues a warrant of arrest.

“Automatic ‘yun, eh. Kapag may warrant of arrest ka na, automatic na ‘yun,” Remulla said.

[It (hold departure order) is automatic once you have a warrant of arrest.]

The Muntinlupa and Las Piñas regional trial courts recently issued warrants of arrest against Bantag and Zulueta for the deaths of alleged middleman Jun Villamor and Lapid, respectively.

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.” — RSJ, GMA Integrated News