'Dala ng kahirapan': Alleged Percy Lapid gunman says P550,000 given for hit

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 18 2022 01:36 PM | Updated as of Oct 19 2022 01:49 PM

Joel Salve Estorial, the suspected gunman in the Percy Lapid case, is presented to the media at Camp Crame in Quezon City on October 18, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Joel Salve Escorial, the suspected gunman in the Percy Lapid case, is presented to the media at Camp Crame in Quezon City on October 18, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The alleged gunman in the murder of broadcaster Percy Lapid on Tuesday said he took part in the crime out of poverty, noting that he and his cohorts were paid a total of P550,000 for the hit.

"Nadala lang po ako ng kahirapan. Wala po kasi akong trabaho sir, nakuan lang po ako sa pera," self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial said as Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. presented him to the media in a press conference.

(It was poverty that pushed me to do it. I am jobless, sir, and I needed the money.)

He explained that he, together with 3 other suspects and accomplices allegedly from inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, were paid the total amount. 

Escorial's cut was P140,000, which he said was wired to his bank account.

He also apologized to the family of Lapid, or Percival Mabasa in real life, for his involvement in the broadcaster's murder.

"Sana po, mapatawad po ako nila. Hindi ko naman kagustuhan iyon," Escorial said.

(I hope they could forgive me. It wasn't what I wanted.)

Escorial voluntarily surrendered to authorities on Monday; Abalos said that no one forced him to turn himself in and that he has since filed an extrajudicial confession in the presence of his lawyer.

He earlier said that he was allegedly forced to kill Mabasa "or be killed."

Abalos also called on Escorial's accomplices to surrender to authorities, as he believes their lives may also be in danger.

Mabasa's family, meanwhile, thanked the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the development on the slain broadcaster's case.

"We hope this development leads to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the mastermind," his family said in a statement.

"We hope Percy does not become part of the statistics and continue to clamor for justice for Percy and the nearly 200 journalists killed since 1986," their statement added.

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