Duterte names ex-Manila jail warden Bantag as new BuCor chief
A joint team prepares for a raid inside the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City in December 2014.

Duterte names ex-Manila jail warden Bantag as new BuCor chief

(Philstar.com) - September 17, 2019 - 4:46pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 5:06 p.m.) —  President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed former Manila jail warden Gerald Bantag as the new director general of the Bureau of Corrections.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Bantag was chosen due to his “professional competence and honesty.”


“The Palace is behind the president’s decision and is confident that DG Bantag will continue the administration’s campaign against corruption as he spearheads reform initiatives in the bureau,” Panelo added.

According to the website of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bantag has a rank of senior superintendent, and is currently the regional director of Mimaropa.

In 2014, Bantag, who was then a jail superintendent, was charged with illegal discharge of firearm and estafa for allegedly not paying his bill and firing his gun at a restaurant in Malabon City.

In a 2016 report by ABS-CBN, at least 10 people died in an explosion at Parañaque City Jail as inmates wanted to talk to Bantag on the transfer of detention cells. Bantag was also hurt in the explosion.

He was charged with 10 counts of murder for the incident.

Guevarra: Duterte must have ‘good reasons’ for picking Bantag

Asked to comment on Bantag’s appointment, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he is certain that Duterte “has good reasons” for appointing Gerald Bantag.

Guevarra also explained that the president did not need to consult him before making the appointment.

He added: “The president has total discretion and absolute prerogative in the appointment of the BuCor director general.”

According to Republic Act 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, the BuCor director general shall be appointed by the president “upon recommendation of the Secretary of the DOJ, with the proper endorsement by the chairman of the [Civil Service Commission].”

BuCor is a line bureau of the Department of Justice which means it directly implements programs pursuant to the department's policies. DOJ also exercises administrative supervision over the bureau.

Guevarra said last week that amid the controversy at the bureau, RA 10575, which reduced DOJ’s authority over BuCor, should be reviewed.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said it might be appropriate for the DOJ to retain “some form of control” over the bureau.

Bantag takes over the vacated position of Nicanor Faeldon, who was fired over the controversy on inmates' Good Conduct and Time Allowance.

—  Kristine Joy Patag with reports from The STAR/Alexis Romero

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