In a television interview, Lauro Gacayan, Zulueta’s legal counsel, said that according to Zulueta, the allegation against them of his former boss, suspended Bucor director General Gerald Bantag, is the handiwork of drug lords who got angry at them because they imposed strict protocols and removed their “undeserved privileges,” especially in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Gacayan expressed belief that the evidence presented to the court against his client can be considered hearsay and cannot be admitted in court.
He said Zulueta is not in hiding and he only refused to appear in public for security reasons, noting that he had been receiving threats against his life since his implication on the case.
“One of which was saying hindi ka na aabutan ng Christmas Colonel Zulueta, and others,” Gacayan said.
The lawyer said his client also does not have the reason to appear before the court as he was not provided a copy of the affidavit complaint for him to respond to.
He said he only got a copy of the complaint affidavit from Bantag’s lawyer, Rocky Balisong.
Gacayan also expressed support to the motion for inhibition filed by Bantag seeking to transfer Lapid’s case from the Department of Justice to the Ombudsman.
“We believe that we are entitled to the cold neutrality of an impartial tribunal. That was the decision of the Supreme Court in a long line of decisions. We do not believe that we will be able to obtain fair proceedings before the panel of prosecutors appointed by the DOJ secretary,” he said, adding that they will submit their counter affidavit once the DOJ panel resolved the motion.
Zulueta and Bantag were facing two counts of murder charges over Lapid’s death on October 3 in Las Piñas.
Based on the account of Person Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) Denver Batungbakal Mayores, who is detained at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan, Zulueta called him to get help for the assassination plan against Lapid.
Mayores then tapped a PDL at the NBP for the execution of the plan.
Joel Escorial, the self-confessed gunman, said the kill order came from the NBP.
Bantag earlier denied accusations that he masterminded the killing of Lapid. (SunStar Philippines)