Guevarra to new BuCor chief: Clean up GCTA mess
MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has directed newly appointed Bureau of Corrections Director General Gerald Bantag to clean up the Good Conduct and Time Allowance controversy hounding the bureau.
Guevarra said he met with Bantag early Wednesday morning for the first time. He said he told the newly installed BuCor chief to focus on three things:
- Clean up the GCTA mess
- Full computerization of the bureau
- Stop illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison
The Office of the Ombudsman is conducting an investigation into the GCTA mess. Meanwhile, the continuing Senate inquiry uncovered more schemes of corruption at the BuCor.
The DOJ and the Department of the Interior and Local Government on Monday signed the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the 2013 GCTA law.
The BuCor, a line bureau of the DOJ, directly implements programs pursuant to the department’s policies.
Bantag chosen for competence, experience
The Palace announced Bantag’s appointment to the BuCor on Tuesday night.
He takes over the position of Nicanor Faeldon, who was fired during the height of the GCTA mess at the bureau.
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.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Bantag was chosen due to his “professional competence and honesty.”
In 2014, Bantag was accused of not paying his bill and firing his gun at a restaurant in Malabon City.
Two years later, he was involved in an explosion at Parañaque City Jail, where he used to serve as warden, where 10 people died. The inmates then wanted to talk to Bantag on the transfer of detention cells.
He was charged with 10 counts of murder for the incident.
Duterte defended his choice for new BuCor chief, noting Bantag’s “experience” at the BJMP.
The president also said he believes Bantag’s innocence in the 2016 incident.