JAIL officers filed on Friday, January 20, 2023, torture charges against suspended Bureau of Corrections (Bucor) director Gerald Bantag.

Charges of torture, oral defamation, grave threat, grave coercion and obstruction of justice were filed by Lazaro Rafols Jr., Jer Sahid Mojado, Eddie Jimenez Jr., Richie Canja and Roy Gacasa, all from the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Aside from Bantag, former Bucor deputy security officer Superintendent Ricardo Zulueta, former Bucor spokesman Gabriel Chaclag and jail guards Jayferson Bon-As, Victor Pascua, Bayani Allaga, Rose Marie Casion, Joel Arnold, Kanoy Lattot, Ave Akilit, Edgar Angeles Jr., and Michale Marzan were also named as respondents in the complaint.

In a press conference, Canja said Bon-as and the other jail officers beat them up on March 1, 2020 at the Ihawig prison over the alleged exposure of a Bucor asset.

He said they were then transferred to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) where they were assaulted personally by Bantag in front of other respondents.

“Okay lang sana kung kami ‘yun, pero kung isama pa ‘yung pamilya namin, sasabihin nila pa sa amin na, ‘pu**** ina ninyo, gusto ninyo pag dudukutin ko pa ‘yung mga pamilya ninyo at ‘yung mga asawa ninyo babarurutin ko sa harapan ninyo,’” Canja said

(It would be okay if it was only us, but it involved our families. They would also tell us, “motherf*****, do you want me to stab your families and your husbands? I will tear them up before you.”)

Among the evidence presented by the complainants is a medical certificate dated December 13, 2022 to certify they were treated on March 1, 2020 for multiple physical injuries secondary to mauling after they were assaulted by Bon-as.

He said they did not seek medical treatment after they were beaten up by Bantag.

“Wala po. Wala pong gamutan na nangyari. Lahat po ng pananakit nila tinanggap namin ‘yan, kasama ng pananakit ng kanyang mga tao. ‘Yung paglagay nila ng bala sa amin. Itinuring kaming parang mga alipin sa gilid,” he said.

(None. No treatment happened. We accepted all their hurt and the hands of his people. The fact that we received bullets. We were treated like side slaves.)

Bantag was suspended in October 2022 to pave the way for the investigation on the death of Jun Villamor, an inmate of Bucor who allegedly facilitated the killing of veteran radio broadcaster Percy Lapid.

He was tagged as the mastermind of Lapid’s killing as he was charged for murder but Bantag denied the allegations, saying it was the handwork of drug syndicates.

The Bucor earlier filed torture and serious physical injuries charges against Bantag and Zulueta over the mauling of two inmates of the NBP, Jonathan Escopete and Ronald Usman, in Bantag’s office on February 1, 2022.

The Bucor also filed an administrative complaint against them for grave misconduct. (SunStar Philippines)