MANILA – The senior prison official, who was charged together with suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag, has formally refuted all allegations that they have something to do with the killing of broadcaster Percival “Ka Percy Lapid” Mabasa in October last year.
In his counter-affidavit filed Feb. 15 and revealed Monday, BuCor deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta denied that he was induced by Bantag to plan and implement the assassination by tapping contract killers who have links with New Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmates.
“DG (Director General) Bantag never ordered me to commit or facilitate the commission of a crime on his behalf,” Zulueta said.
He said he never contacted witnesses Denver Mayores, Aldrin Galicia, Alfie Penaredonda and Alvin Labra, all persons deprived of liberty (PDL).
He said the inmates are getting back at them after they lost their “privileges” under Bantag’s tenure.
There are also “high-ranking” BuCor employees who were suspended for their “malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance in the performance of their duties that we discovered when we took over,” Zulueta claimed.
“There are many groups responsible behind these malicious cases filed against me and Director General Bantag,” Zulueta said his his affidavit.
He denied Mayores’ claim that he called him up for the “patrabaho” (task), saying the mobile number that the PDL indicated is not his.
However, he confirmed meeting Mayores in 2005 and later on making him an orderly, who assists prison officers.
Zulueta also called as “blatant lie” Labra’s accusation that he assured Mayores that he would endorsed his release once Mabasa is killed.
Bantag previously denied any part in planning Mabasa’s death and said the case should be handled by the Ombudsman, instead of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The DOJ suspended Bantag for 90 days in October last year to allow an impartial investigation.
On Jan. 17, he was handed another 90-day suspension for allowing a television news channel to interview convicted kidnapper Jovito Palparan at the NBP maximum security compound on Nov. 15, 2021. (PNA)