Percy Lapid killing: Alleged masterminds named; murder charges to be filed — brother

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 02 2022 01:55 PM

Roy Mabasa, brother of slain radio commentator Percy Lapid, met with authorities at the DOJ Wednesday morning for a case conference. Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News
Roy Mabasa, brother of slain radio commentator Percy Lapid, met with authorities at the DOJ Wednesday morning for a case conference. Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Authorities on Wednesday identified the alleged masterminds in the killing of radio commentator Percival Mabasa, more popularly known as Percy Lapid, according to his brother, Roy Mabasa.

Roy met with Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla and National Bureau of Investigation Director Medardo de Lemos at the Department of Justice for a case conference on Wednesday morning, where some names of those behind the killings were supposedly mentioned.

“Meron po. To be very frank, meron po. At ito rin ay aming pinag-aaralan bilang miyembro ng mga pamilya,” Roy told reporters when asked if names have been floated as alleged masterminds.

(There were names. To be frank, there were. And this is what we're studying as members of the family.)

“Sa palagay ko nalalapit na tayo roon sapagkat sa aming pag-uusap kanina, meron nang tinutumbok subalit I’m not at liberty to say to you kung ano ang mga pangalan at pagkakakilanlan. Hahayaan po natin ang DOJ na tapusin ang kanilang trabaho, kasama ang NBI at PNP at magkakaroon yata ng announcement in the next 1, 2, 3 days,” he added.

(I think we're heading towards that because based on our conversations earlier, there were names being mentioned but I'm not at liberty to say to you their names and identities. We'll let DOJ finish their work, including NBI and PNP that will, I think, make an announcement in the next days.)

Mabasa said authorities are eyeing filing charges by Friday this week or, at the latest, Monday next week.

However, he refused to divulge how many will be charged but confirmed that authorities are looking at the filing of murder charges for both the killings of Lapid and alleged middleman Crisanto/Jun Villamor.

Villamor was killed inside the New Bilibid Prison on October 18, a few hours self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial told reporters someone from the national penitentiary offered P550,000 for Lapid’s killing. 

Escorial later identified Villamor as the alleged middleman in the murder plot, but did not name the mastermind nor motive in the slay.

The NBI initially found no gunshot wounds or any external physical injury on the Villamor's body and pointed to a possible heart problem as the cause of his death.

But a re-autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun showed he died of asphyxiation by plastic bag suffocation, consistent with statements supposedly provided by Bilibid inmates now under the custody of NBI.

Mabasa said Dr. Fortun's re-autopsy findings are a big help in resolving the case.

“Malaking bagay 'yun sapagkat dun natin nakita na hindi naman talaga natural death yung cause ng pagkamatay nung isa sa mga middlemen but 'yun nga sinabi ni Dr. Fortun, binalutan daw ng plastic. Malaking bagay 'yun in finding out kung sino ba 'yung mga involved,” he said.

(It will be of great help because we saw there that natural death wasn't the cause of death of one of the middlemen and according to Dr. Fortun someone used plastic to suffocate the person. That's really helpful in finding out who are really involved.)

Mabasa said the probe is "going well so far" but will reserve comments until cases are filed on Friday.

BANTAG 

One of the names that cropped up after the killing of Lapid is that of former Bureau of Corrections chief Gerald Bantag, who had earlier denied involvement in the killing.

“Pareho rin ng sinabi ng PNP. Si General Bantag is among the 160 persons of interest dito sa kasong ito. Di naman tayo magtataka sapagkat 'yung mga nangyayari sa loob ng Bilibid ay sa ilalim ng pamumuno ni General Bantag. As I said, hahayaan ho natin ang awtoridad na magbanggit ng mga pangalan kung kinakailangan sa mga darating na araw,” Mabasa said.

(The PNP shared similar details. General Bantag is among the 160 persons of interest here. That's not surprising because whatever happens in Bilibid is under his watch. As I said, we will let authorities reveal the names if needed in the coming days.)

SECURITY

Mabasa said that while he no longer personally receives threats, his relatives from “up north” still receive death threats.

He said they have agreed in principle on receiving added security but ruled out seeking custody under the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program as it will limit their movements.

Mabasa also disclosed the Justice secretary intends to visit his brother’s family to check on their security.

Mabasa was accompanied in Wednesday’s meeting by his lawyer Danilo Pelagio and spokesperson Atty. Berteni Causing.

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