By Benjamin Pulta

Suspended BuCor director general Gerald Bantag (File photo)

MANILA – Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento on Tuesday said the prosecution panel handling the cases against embattled Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director general Gerald Bantag will resolve soon the motion filed by the latter’s lawyer seeking the inhibition of the Department of Justice (DOJ) from the cases against him.

Malcontento told reporters that Bantag’s defense lawyers’ motion is now submitted for resolution.

“They will resolve it soon,” Malcontento said.

Bantag is seeking the recusal of the DOJ which is conducting the preliminary investigation of the cases for the deaths of veteran journalist Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa last October and the subsequent death of person deprived of liberty (PDL) Cristito Villamor Palana, also known as Jun Villamor.

Villamor was tagged as the alleged middleman in the killing of Mabasa.

Bantag’s counsels claimed that as their client is a high-ranking public official, the proper office which should investigate the charges against him is the Office of the Ombudsman and not the DOJ.

Bantag’s legal counsel Rocky Balisong last filed a motion last Dec. 5 that sought the inhibition of the DOJ panel of prosecutors.

The complainants, including Mabasa’s family, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Philippine National Police (PNP), have filed comments on Bantag’s motion as directed by the DOJ panel.

The suspended corrections chief submitted his reply to the comments on Dec. 26, 2022.

After the complainants submitted rejoinders in response to Bantag’s reply, the motion is deemed submitted for resolution. (PNA)