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WHAT WENT BEFORE: Who is Gerald Bantag?

MANILA, Philippines —In 2016, Gerald Bantag was in charge of a city jail where a grenade exploded, killing 10 detainees. He was later assigned to another city jail where at least 30 inmates were hurt in a riot.

Bantag was the warden of the Parañaque City Jail in August 2016 when 10 inmates, including two Chinese nationals,  mostly facing drug-related charges, were killed in a grenade blast in his office.

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The inmates had earlier asked for an audience with Bantag to air their concerns about the warden’s plan to move them to other cells and conduct a thorough search for contraband in the jail.

Two months later, on Oct. 23, 2016, after being moved to the Manila City Jail, Bantag faced a noise barrage and violence  staged by 30 inmates.

During the morning disturbance, scores of inmates climbed onto the roof of some of the buildings at the jail compound.

The protesters “voluntarily went down” and returned to their cells before noon after talks with jail officials, according to a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) official.

But at least 30 inmates—all members of Batang City Jail—were hurt, according to Bantag.

The BJMP said the protesters  opposed the segregation of some 2,000 detainees who were facing drug-related charges.

The inmates, however, were also demanding the removal of Bantag.

At the time, the relatives of the inmates claimed that since Bantag took over, visitors had been prevented from bringing in food for the detainees and were instead told to buy food from  the stores inside the jail where food was “more expensive.”

A spokesperson denied that there was such a policy in the jail. —INQUIRER RESEARCH

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Source: Inquirer Archives

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