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Brewed Behind Bars

If we’re going to take what the roller coaster trail of investigation has brought us so far, the late Percy Lapid made some comments against a person who is thought to be suspended Bureau of Corrections Chief Gerald Bantag. (Apparently, the BuCor Chief has some issues that allegedly needed some lifestyle check. How many cars are enough?) So, allegedly, the mastermind got pissed by the aired comments, the he crafted this plan to get some of the inmates (who supposedly had become his friends) to find someone to accomplish the liquidation. It turns out that incarceration is no interference in working for recruitment for employment. We may have forgotten that around two weeks after the murder, Joel Escorial surfaced to claim responsibility for actually pulling the trigger. (That was quick, about as quick as the pedicab driver getting tagged as the suspect for an alleged rape slay case.) Back then, I was still scratching my head in uncertainty if it was for real or for show. Then the alleged middleman, Billamer dies in prison. That was the time when my head started to whirl. Then, Villamor’s sister, alias “Marisa,” appears, exposing more players in the story. Lather, Villamer would be found to have died due to asphyxiation after a plastic bag was wrapped around his face. (What is happening inside the jail cells? There seems to be so much drama behind bars.) In the course of the investigation, Bantag was slowly being implicated. By this time, there have been so much movement, gathering a hazy cloud of dust and smoke that disrupted the train of logic.

How does a subpoena get received? How is it deemed served? Because news has it that it has been served when DOJ people reportedly went to a house which is registered as Bantag’s residence, but the barangay government claims that the house has not been resided in by the family for 15 years now. It seems that that Caloocan residence was just an address that he put on official documents although it was not the actual domicile he lived in. City Hall employees who actually live outside Naga know about that. That’s not exactly a crime. So, even if the subpoena servers had arrived ten years earlier, they would not have found any Bantag there. I think a little asking around would have given them that information. On the other hand, Bantag who claims to be in Baguio declares that he is not in hiding. It just seems a little weird. It looks like that they would deem the subpoena served, no matter what.

As early as October 21, Bantag had been placed under preventive suspension with DOJ secretary Remulla claiming that the order comes from the President. How does that happen? All of a sudden, President Bongbong Marcos decides to suspend the Bureau of Corrections General Director (just like how he relieved former PDEA Chief Wilkins Rivera) at a time when he has not yet been implicated. The NBI at the point even claimed that there was no evidence against Bantag. Furthermore, how does the President make a decision of suspending someone who would be suspected as the mastermind over the heads of the PNP, NBI and DOJ? Maybe, they had been forwarding him partial reports from the start. Maybe.

Why did the NBI declare Villamer’s death as an accident, then later to be refuted by Dr. Raquel Fortun as a homicide? What happened there? Was that an unintentional oversight? How did that go? Ooops! We thought it was an accident. He looked like he forgot to breathe. Anyway, thanks to Dr. Fortun for clarifying.

There seems to be some tension between the suspended BuCor Chief Bantag and DOJ secretary Remulla, like they had been rivals for valedictorian back in elementary school. From the get-go, the blame on Bantag had been gradually brewing, until they drew lines on the ground beyond which he could not step anymore. Then, there’s Bantag’s allegations of pointing responsibility of the murder to some druglord, and challenges against Remulla to resign. These remarks have been labeled as diversionary. On the other hand, Secretary Remulla’s extra efforts could be labeled as diversionary away from his own son’s drug case. Why had there been more than a hundred persons of interest? Did all these individuals all gang up to plan the murder of one man? There’s also the lingering suspicion that it could not be Bantag, but a bigger fish, a bigger politician that is the real mastermind.

Something’s always brewing behind bars. There are loopholes in the investigation. There’s something between or among government officials.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” -Micah 6:8

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