To his 216,000 subscribers on YouTube and 44,000 followers on Facebook, it has become a nightly habit to listen to his fearless commentaries on different political and social issues. Night owls, many of them seniors, or Filipinos living abroad, tune in to his radio show Lapid Fire on DWBL weekdays 10PM to 11PM, or to his FB Live which runs up to midnight.
But Percy Lapid’s familiar voice wasn’t on air last Monday night. His followers would only find out the following day that the broadcast journalist—Percival Mabasa in real life—was shot dead by unidentified gunmen near his home in BF Resort Village, Las Piñas City.
CCTV footage obtained by the Las Piñas police showed Lapid was gunned down by “riding in tandem” motorists near the village gate. He sustained two gunshot wounds at the back of his left ear. As of this writing, Col. Jaime Santos says they are still waiting for a copy of footage from the victim’s dashcam and cellphone.
Lapid is known to be a staunch fighter of fake news and a bold critic of government irregularities. In his last broadcast aired September 30, Thursday, he tackled the dangers of red-tagging, among other issues. It was his bold statements and observations, his scoops, that his listeners always looked forward to.
Based on the social media messages that poured out after the news of his death broke, Lapid is clearly an admired media man. Messages of condolences and calls for justice poured in, coming from human rights advocates, fellow journalists, and netizens.
Former Vice President Leni Robredo expressed her sympathies in a social media post. “Malaking kawalan ang kaniyang boses, tapang, at pananaw sa panahong bumabangga tayo sa tahasang panlilinlang sa taumbayan,” she wrote.
In a press statement, BAYAN Muna Partylist chairman Neri Colmenares described Lapid as “one of those dedicated to protecting press freedom. He spoke against fake news, he was brave enough to discuss the perils of red-tagging, and was not afraid to speak against the historical distortions of Martial Law.”
“We must not allow his killing to go unchallenged, unsolved, unpunished. #JusticeForPercyLapid” went a tweet by Inquirer columnist John Nery.
TV journalist Manny Mogato said Lapid was a “fearless broadcaster and vlogger, criticizing the powerful wrong-doers.”
In a tweet, Rodolfo Medrano, who appears to be Mabasa’s avid listener says the broadcaster’s “high-pitch laughter at the end of his stinging punchlines will be missed the most.” Medrano’s wish for the commentator: “May the life you sacrificed be rewarded a thousandfold.”
Gela Eufracio said Lapid’s program was her parents’ “daily dose of truth in this ‘fake news country.’ They always listen to him whenever they’re having their coffee. Nakakagalit [ang nangyari].”
Lapid has also become an evening habit at @Tweetberry’s household. “My heart aches for my mom today. She is away from home, and I was the one to break the news to her that the journalist she always listens to, was killed last night. Her shock and disbelief, anger and disappointment, broke my heart.”
@c_bibi said “Lapid Fire's insulting laughter, hard-hitting sarcasm, brutal name-calling, and straightforward criticisms” will be missed.
In a Facebook post, Roy Mabasa, older brother of the slain journalist and former president of the National Press Club, said “Percy is beloved by many and highly respected by peers, fans and foes alike. His bold and sharp commentaries cut through the barrage of fake news over the air waves and social media.”
Mabasa is the second journalist who was killed under the Marcos Jr. administration. Radio broadcaster Rey Blanco was stabbed to death in Mabinay, Negros Oriental last Sept. 18, 2022.