VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video claiming Bantag ‘acquitted’ from Lapid case MISLEADS

A video circulating on social media falsely claims that a supposed case implicating former Bureau of Corrections director general Gerald Bantag in the murder of broadcast journalist Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa has been junked.

Uploaded on YouTube and Facebook on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, respectively, the video carried a thumbnail that read: “BINASURA ANG KASO | SA WAKAS INABSWELTO NA ANG AKUSASYON (Case has been junked | Finally the accusations were acquitted).” Among the photos in the thumbnail is a portrait of Bantag.  

This is false because no cases have been filed yet against Bantag, or any of the other persons of interest in the Lapid slay case. 

In a Nov. 1 interview with One News, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said his department aims to file charges against the people suspected to be behind the killing of Lapid by Nov. 4. 

The video’s headline also misleadingly claimed that a ranking police officer said Bantag was not the mastermind behind Lapid’s death.

It twisted what Police Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, actually said: 

Lamang lang siya dahil nga may namatay. Pero hindi ko sinasabi, in fairness kay Gen. Bantag, hindi ko sinasabi na siya ang mastermind (He was prioritized [in the investigation] because someone died. But I am not saying, in fairness to Gen. Bantag, that he is the mastermind).”


Source: SMNI News official Facebook page, PNP, walang naging pagkukulang sa imbestigasyon sa pagkamatay…, Oct. 31, 2022, timecode 07:14 to 07:20 (emphasis ours)

Remulla has said Bantag is being considered a person of interest with regard to the death of alleged Lapid slay middleman Jun Villamor at the New Bilibid Prison on Oct. 21.

FB page Banat Pilipinas (created on Nov. 17, 2020) and YouTube channel NEWSFILES (created on Dec. 12, 2012) posted the misleading videos, which collectively got over 326,124 interactions. The videos appeared after Bantag reiterated his innocence over the accusation and said he’d rather die than be imprisoned.

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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.)