The brother of slain radio commentator Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa said the alleged masterminds in the killing have already been identified and murder charges are set to be filed on Friday.
Roy Mabasa, who is also a journalist, met with Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and National Bureau of Investigation Director Medardo de Lemos at the Department of Justice for a case conference on Wednesday morning.
“There were names mentioned. And this is what we’re studying as members of the family… I think we are nearing towards the filing of cases because based on our conversations earlier, there were names being mentioned but I’m not at liberty to divulge their names and identities,” Roy said in an interview.
“We’ll let the DOJ finish its work, including the NBI and PNP that will, I think, make an announcement in the next few days,” he added.
“We were shown the timeline and affidavits on why they were focusing on certain personalities because there was corroboration in the statements on these personalities. It’s going well so far, but as I said, I will reserve our comments until Friday when it is done. The investigation on the case has started,” Roy said.
He said authorities are looking at the filing of murder charges for both the killings of his brother, better known by his radio moniker, and the alleged middleman in the hit order, Crisanto/Jun Villamor Palaña.
An independent autopsy conducted on Palaña’s remains by Dr. Raquel Fortun showed the inmate was suffocated with a plastic bag.
Palaña died on October 18 inside the New Bilibid Prison, hours after self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial surrendered to authorities and identified the alleged middleman.
“The autopsy report of Dr. Fortun 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,” Roy said.
Asked to comment on suspended Bureau of Corrections chief Gerald Bantag, who had earlier denied involvement in the killing, Roy 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.”
Roy said he and Remulla also agreed on providing security for Mabasa’s family instead of putting them under the Witness Protection Program, which would further limit their movement.
“If they are placed under WPP, they will feel more constricted. So, we thought that we should just give them security. Secretary Remulla agreed a few days ago,” he said.
Lapid was shot dead in Las Piñas City on October 3.