Autopsy findings on alleged Lapid slay middleman consistent with witness' claim - Fortun


Posted at Oct 31 2022 05:56 PM

Facade of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on Sept. 18, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
Facade of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on Sept. 18, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — A second autopsy on the alleged middleman in the killing of broadcaster Percival "Percy Lapid" Mabasa is consistent with a testimony that Cristito Villamor Palaña was killed, a top forensic pathologist said Monday.

According to Dr. Raquel Fortun, she was informed by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla that Palaña was suffocated with plastic bag.

"They had confirmed information that was how he was killed," she told ANC's "Dateline."

Fortun admitted she was prepared to say the cause of death as "undetermined" after she didn't find any significant injuries.

"When Secretary Remulla informed me of information that they got that it was a plastic bag, I said, 'Okay, that is consistent with the findings actually,'" she said.

Palaña was previously identified as Crisanto or Jun Villamor. He died at the New Bilibid Prison on the same day that alleged hitman Joel Escorial faced the media and confessed to killing Mabasa.

Fortun performed the second autopsy on the embalmed body of Palaña days after it was examined by the National Bureau of Investigation.

For Fortun, it became apparent to her that Palaña's death was homicide.

"When he (Remulla) showed me a text message allegedly by Mr. Villamor expressing fear for his life, that was sent before he died, you know, that's so uncanny," she said.

"You wouldn't die a natural death like that where you got the individual knowing he's in danger.

"Remember, this is not an ordinary person out in the open with liberty. You have someone in jail, not in control of his safety," she added.

The middleman likely knew the mastermind in the slay of Mabasa, a commentator on DWIZ 882 KHZ and DWBL 1242 AM. The broadcaster, popularly known as Percy Lapid, was killed by motorcycle-riding assailants on Oct. 3 in Las Piñas City. 

He was a vocal critic of the Duterte and Marcos administrations. Police said the murder was likely work-related. 

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