Percy Lapid slay case: Subpoena for Bantag sent to a ‘different’ person – lawyer
MANILA, Philippines — There was a mistake in the subpoena sent by a Department of Justice (DOJ) panel of prosecutors to Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag, his lawyer Rocky Balisong said Wednesday.
During Wednesday’s preliminary investigation, Balisong said the subpoena requiring Bantag to attend the November 23 and December 5 preliminary investigations was for a “different” person.
He said the subpoena was addressed to a certain Gerald Bantag y Soriano. However, the suspended BuCor chief’s middle name is “Quitaleg.”
“He [Gerald Bantag y Soriano] is different from DG Gerald Bantag y Quitaleg. So, [these are] two different individuals,” Balisong told reporters.
The error, according to Bantag’s lawyer, “is fatal.”
“That is fatal because it refers to two different individuals. Definitely, Gerald Bantag y Soriano is not our client,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bantag’s co-respondent, BuCor Deputy Security Officer (DSO) Ricardo Zulueta was a no-show in the preliminary probe.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Charlie Guhit said not even a lawyer appeared on behalf of Zulueta.
On the other hand, the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmates under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) appeared via video conferencing.
Guhit said they allowed video conferencing for the inmates for security purposes.
Roy Mabasa, brother of radioman Percy Lapid (real name: Percival Mabasa), appeared during the preliminary investigation. He said he expects that seeking justice will take time.
“This is not an easy process,” he said.
The next preliminary investigation is set on December 5.
Bantag, Zulueta, and several others are facing complaints of murder for the death of Lapid, who was killed in an ambush last October 3 in Las Piñas City, and NBP inmate Jun Villamor, an alleged middleman who supposedly contacted Joel Escorial to gun down the broadcaster.
Villamor died inside prison on the same day Escorial appeared before the media to give details on Lapid’s death last October 18.