MANILA — The family of slain radio broadcaster Percy Lapid and press freedom advocates in the Philippines on Tuesday renewed their calls for justice a year after his killing.
Lapid — also known as Percival Mabasa, his legal name — was shot on October 3, 2022 outside the Las Piñas gated village where he lived.
"The family stands united in our call for swift justice to ensure that those responsible for this loss are held accountable," Roy Mabasa, Lapid's brother and also a journalist himself, said in a statement.
"Let us honor Ka Percy's memory by advocating for a fair and transparent legal process that brings closure to his family and friends," Mabasa also said.
Before his killing, Lapid made commentaries on the Duterte administration, as well as on some policies and officials of the Marcos administration.
CASE VS MASTERMINDS
A coalition of press freedom advocates in the Philippines also issued a similar call for the speedy resolution of Lapid's murder and aired concern that the case against the masterminds "could be archived."
This, despite three Persons Deprived of Liberty pleading guilty as accessories to the crime, which resulted in additional jail terms for them, the Freedom for Media Freedom for All (FMFA) said in their statement.
It called for "urgent attention to the court hearings, including making sure that the accused are represented by their lawyers so that court proceedings are not delayed by their absences."
"It is our hope that his killers are brought to justice. We encourage the public to closely monitor the case," FMFA said.
"Murders of journalists are not just issues for journalists, but for everyone who values life and freedom of the press."
The FMFA is composed of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, MindaNews, and the Philippine Press Institute.
Former prisons chief Gerald Bantag was accused of ordering the killing of Lapid due to his allegations of corruption against the official.
He was also later tagged in the murder of an inmate who allegedly passed on the kill order for Mabasa to the gunman.
Bantag, who remains at large, denied the accusations.
The coalition said that Lapid's killing exposed "how dangerous the Philippines has become for media workers, particularly for hard-hitting radio commentators."
"The high-profile investigation that followed also revealed the sordid underbelly of the Philippine correctional system," it added.
The Philippines is among the most dangerous nations in the world for journalists where justice for media killings is rare.
The FMFA said that out of 178 cases of journalist killings in the country, "only in five cases have the masterminds been brought to court," including Lapid's murder.
Lapid was the second journalist to be killed under the Marcos administration, according to NUJP.