VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Gerald Bantag NOT back as BuCor chief

A video on Facebook (FB) claims that suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag has been reinstated. This is false. Facing murder charges for the death of broadcaster Percival Mabasa, Bantag is being asked to surrender. 

On Nov. 7, an FB page uploaded the video with this false headline:

“YARE! GENERAL BANTAG BABALIK NA! SA WAKAS BISTADO NA! GEN. CATAPANG WILLING MAG PARAYA SA PWESTO (Dead! General Bantag returns! At last, caught! Gen. [Gregorio] Catapang willing to step down from seat)!”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has made no such announcement. Nor are there any news reports about it. The narrator of the video only mentioned opinions of netizens saying Bantag is innocent over the death of Mabasa, popularly known as “Percy Lapid”.

In fact, in a Nov. 7 press conference, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla urged  Bantag, along with BuCor deputy senior officer Ricardo Zulueta, to surrender and face the murder charges filed against them that same day.

“I’d like to ask Zulueta and Bantag to surrender and face the charges. If they are innocent, the law will uphold them. If they are guilty then they would have to face the consequences,” Remulla said.

Earlier in the press briefing, Bantag and Zulueta were named as the “masterminds” behind the killing of Mabasa and alleged middleman Cristito Palaña.

Catapang, the new BuCor Officer-in-Charge, said in a Nov. 3 media interview that he is willing to step down from position once Bantag is cleared.

The video appeared just a few hours after the DOJ press conference, where authorities announced the filing of murder complaints against Bantag, among others.

FB page Bong bong Marcos tayo (created on May 24) published the video with the false headline, garnering over 3,600 reactions, 900 comments, 250 shares and 114,000 views.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)