Escorial's passbook supports claim about P550,000-fee for Lapid slay - police

Anna Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2022 12:25 PM | Updated as of Oct 23 2022 02:37 PM

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos presents Joel Salve Escorial, the suspected gunman in the killing of Percy Lapid, during a press conference at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Oct. 18, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos presents Joel Salve Escorial, the suspected gunman in the killing of Percy Lapid, during a press conference at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Oct. 18, 2022. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) — The passbook of self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial that he surrendered to the Philippine National Police corroborates his claim he had received P550,000 for the murder of broadcaster Percival "Percy Lapid" Mabasa, police said.

According to a source from the Philippine National Police, five deposits were made from Sep. 15 to Oct. 4, totaling P550,000. Escorial had said in his extrajudicial confession that he was contacted by "Jun Villamor" on Sept. 5 regarding an assassination mission for a fee of P550,000.

Southern Police District Director B/Gen. Kirby Kraft confirmed to ABS-CBN News the information regarding the transactions.

“Sinurrender na ng ating gunman si Joel ang kaniyang passbook kung saan meron nag-deposit ng P550,000 sa bank account bilang pagpatay kay Percy,” Kraft said.

According to Escorial's extrajudicial confession, he said that Villamor, an inmate at the New Bilibid Prison, called him on Sept. 15 to inform him that a down payment of P100,000 had been deposited to his account.

Escorial's passbook showed two deposits, each worth P50,000, were made that day, police said.

An additional P100,000 was wired to his account the following day, Sept. 16, when Escorial and his cohorts supposedly began surveilling Lapid.

After that, no deposit was made until Oct. 4, a day after Mabasa was shot dead in Las Pinas City. Deposits of P50,000 and P300,000 were wired into Escorial's account, police said.

Escorial's bank records further suggested that in between deposits, money had already been taken out beginning Sept. 15, when two withdrawals worth P10,000 each were made, police noted.

The following day, three transactions amounting to P10,000 each were done. The same set of transactions was seen on Sept. 19. 

On Sept. 26, an amount of P10,000 was withdrawn.

Three days later, or on Sept. 29, three withdrawals of P10,000 each were made.

Escorial's account moved again on Oct. 3, the day of Mabasa's murder. His passbook showed that three withdrawal transactions worth P10,000 each were made, police said.

On Oct. 4, a withdrawal of P200,000 was made, the biggest so far.

In the next two days, Escorial made five transactions worth P10,000 each per day, police said.

The self-confessed gunman would make three more withdrawals on Oct. 7 worth P30,000, after another P200,000 was wired to his account.

Kraft explained it is likely the Oct. 7 deposit was made by Escorial and not part of the payment for Mabasa's murder, as his affidavit stated their fee for the hit was only P550,000. 

Finally, on Oct. 11, P170,000 was withdrawn from the account. It is the last movement seen on the copy of Escorial’s passbook, police said.

Villamor died on Oct. 18, the same day that Escorial was presented to the public.

According to Kraft, they are yet to determine the identity of depositor/s as he or she is protected by the Bank Secrecy Law.

“Tayo po ay gumawa ng kaukulang action na pagsulat sa banko, makakuha ng certificate of transaction… Sa part ni Joel, walang problem... Ang challenges lang, yung nag-deposit, kung sino. May bank secrecy law, covered pa 'to” he said.

The official added they are also working on retrieving CCTV footage from the banks or ATM machines to determine if it was in fact Escorial making the withdrawals.

It is highly probable that Mabasa's murder is related to his work, a police spokesman had said.

The commentator on DWIZ 882 KHZ and DWBL 1242 AM was critical of the Duterte administration and some policies and officials of the current administration.

The National Union of the Journalists of the Philippines said Mabasa is the second member of the press killed under the Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. presidency.

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