A former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) official implicated in the slaying of broadcaster Percy Lapid has surfaced in public through social media after a Baguio lawyer posted images of the official.
Baguio City-based lawyer Lauro Gacayan posted on his Facebook page several photos of Ricardo Zulueta, former chief for security operations of BuCor and a suspect in the killing of Lapid, who was shot dead in his car as he was heading home on October 3.
Zulueta, who has not appeared in public since October, is facing charges from the Department of Justice (DOJ) not only for the slaying of Lapid, but also the killing of inmate Crisanto “Jun Villamor” Palaña, who allegedly hired Escorial to kill Lapid. Palaña was found dead inside the New Bilibid Prison after Escorial surrendered to the authorities.
Gacayan wrote online: “Just want to be clear about it. My client is not in hiding abroad or already dead.”
Both the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) claimed Zulueta had been hiding since the murder complaints were filed against him, Bantag, and several other prison inmates.
According to Gacayan, the photos of Zulueta were taken in his office on December 13. Zulueta will respond to the charges filed against him and return to public view once he has executed a counter-affidavit with DOJ prosecutors in charge of the case, Gacayan added.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said Zulueta has been absent without leave (AWOL) since October. Lawmen who went to serve the summons against him at his last known addresses, including his residence in Pandi, Bulacan, were unable to find him. Zulueta also failed to appear or be represented by a lawyer during the November 23 and December 5 preliminary investigation hearings conducted by the DOJ.