MANILA -- The brother of Percival "Percy Lapid" Mabasa on Thursday called on President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to lend his voice to the call for justice for the slain broadcaster.
"I want the president to lend his strong voice, to closely monitor all the cases, and ensure that the Philippines indeed subscribes to human rights," Roy Mabasa, also a journalist, said on ANC's Dateline Philippines.
"Or else, we will just like be in the past administrations where human rights violations really proliferate," he added.
Marcos has so far not issued any statement regarding the shooting to death last Monday of Lapid, who is a critic of the Duterte administration and of some officials in the current administration. Police has said it is highly probable the killing had something to do with Lapid's work as commentator.
Without mentioning the incident, the president said though on Wednesday at an event organized by the Manila Overseas Press Club that his administration will support and protect the rights of the media.
"As I share your club's conviction in the importance of upholding the universal right of free speech and press freedom, as well as giving and receiving accurate information, I'm committed to remain open with you, constantly communicating our progress as we move forward," he said in his speech.
A Palace official said Tuesday that Marcos and his office had expressed concern over the killing of Lapid.
"The president should lend his strong voice in ensuring that no stone will be left unturned in this particular case," Mabasa said.
He said he does not want his brother's case to just be part of the statistics on unresolved media killings in the country.
"If I can recall, since 2006, there were already about less than 200 cases of journalist killings in this country. And we do not even know how many of them were solved, how many cases were filed, and how many were dismissed."
"So, in as far as the case of my brother is concerned, we do not want this to be part of a mere statistics," said Mabasa.
"I hope ito na sana yung last na journalist who will fall under this new administration," he added.
"Fifteen years ago, I used to head an organization of journalists also. And one of my advocacies is to stop journalist killings. And here we are now..., the very victim is my own brother. So that means, there was no progress done from that point up to the point where we are right now," Mabasa said.
"So, this is a big challenge to the government. Even I, I'm a journalist, too, I don't feel safe anymore if I go out from here. If I want to go anywhere, I don't feel safe anymore. So, it's a challenge to the government to ensure, not just journalists but ordinary Filipinos, that their safety is a government concern," he added.
Mabasa said Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos, who paid the family a visit on Wednesday, "assured... that he will exercise all the powers under his authority to run after the perpetrators of this coward act of killing my brother."
He also thanked Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin for visiting the wake earlier Thursday.
"He made an assurance that the government is doing it all can to investigate and to probably file charges against those found to be behind this dastardly act," said Mabasa.
Mabasa also asked for the public's help by providing any useful information for the resolution of the case.
"Merong nakataya diyan na P1.5 million in total (reward money). Those sum of money will be useless kung hindi magko-cooperate ang community," he said.
Mabasa acknowledged and thanked Abalos and Alex Lopez, who, according to him, was a mayoral candidate in the last election, for putting up the reward money.
--ANC, 6 October 2022