‘Middleman’ in Percy Lapid slay has been dead for 2 days

It looks like the probe into the killing of broadcaster Percy Mabasa, popularly known as Percy Lapid, is likely to reach a dead end after it was confirmed that the alleged middleman who hired self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial died last Tuesday inside the New Bilibid Prison.

Earlier, Escorial surrendered to authorities and admitted he was the one who shot Lapid last 3 October in Las Piñas City at around 8:30 p.m.

Someone from inside the “Bilibid” gave the order to kill Lapid, he said.

Aside from Escorial, three other persons — brothers Israel and Edmon Dimaculangan and a certain Orly/Orlando — whom he identified as his cohorts — have been charged with murder before the Department of Justice but are still at large.

In his extrajudicial confession affidavit submitted during inquest proceedings, Escorial also identified a certain Crisanto Palana Villamor, also known as “Idoy,” as the one who promised to pay them P550,000 in exchange for killing Mabasa.

He also disclosed that a certain Christopher Bacoto, also known as “Jerry Sandoval,” was the one who convinced the Dimaculangan brothers and Orly to help him execute the plan.

Villamor and Bacoto were not included as respondents in the murder case filed against Escorial and three others as police authorities are still conducting further investigation to determine their whereabouts and participation.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla confirmed to reporters that the alleged middleman died at the NBP hospital.

However, it has yet to be ascertained whether the alleged middleman Remulla was referring to was Villamor.

Remulla said he has yet to get the full details and the circumstances of his death but described the person as a 42-year-old prisoner.

“I am at a loss here. For now, that’s the report given to me. I want to be very candid about it,” Remulla said.

“Yes, he is a PDL (person deprived of liberty) which means he has been sentenced already. I have no idea about his criminal record. I really don’t know,” Remulla said.

He also said he has no information yet on how the said PDL was identified as the alleged middleman in Mabasa’s killing.

The justice secretary said he has already tasked the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an autopsy and to invite independent medico-legal experts to witness the proceedings.

The Department of Justice also announced yesterday that Escorial opted for the conduct of a preliminary investigation despite his extrajudicial confession.

It said Escorial executed a waiver of his rights under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code as amended.

Thus, the DoJ set the case for preliminary investigation on 24 October

State witness

Remulla is not ruling out the possibility of including Escorial in the government’s Witness Protection Program to hasten the resolution of the case.

“That’s very possible if that is the only way to solve the case, its possible. It will be discussed and will undergo scrutiny of the court,” Remulla said in a radio interview.

”Our angle here for now is if there are others involved in a conspiracy particularly a person in government,” Remulla said.

Escorial was charged with murder during inquest proceedings at the Department of Justice in connection with the 3 October killing of Lapid, Percival Mabasa in real life.

Escorial, 39, on Tuesday surrendered to authorities out of fear for his personal safety.

He admitted that he, along with the three other respondents were responsible for the killing.

He also claimed that the order to assassinate Lapid came inside the walls of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

According to him, they were six of them originally tasked to do the hit and were paid a total of P550,000.

Earlier, SPD Chief Gen. Kirby John Brion Kraft said the brother of Lapid, Roy Mabasa, also appeared at the DoJ on Wednesday, 19 October to sign his statement.

Kraft said the three other suspects, namely Edmon and Israel Dimaculangan, and a certain “Orly” are also facing murder raps.

He said the Special Investigation Task Group has not come up with a report on the validation of the P550,000 Escorial claimed was deposited to his BDO account.

Kraft said they could not still release a statement on the validation of the P550,000 because of the bank secrecy law.

Bilibid probe

In a related development, Remulla ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation into Escorial’s claim that the order to kill the broadcaster emanated from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

“The utterance is that it was hatched inside Bilibid, that is what I told the NBI to determine and investigate,” Remulla said.

A DWBL radio commentator, Lapid was gunned down at the gate of BF Resort Village in Talon Dos, Las Piñas City while on his way home aboard a black Toyota Innova.

BuCor Deputy Director General Gabriel Chaclag said a probe was under way in response to the order of Remulla to look into the allegation of the alleged gunman Escorial, who confessed to having shot Mabasa twice and claimed that the order to kill the hard-hitting broadcaster came from within the NBP.

“We, in BuCor will not tolerate this and we are open to any inquiry as we are serious in our job and would always endeavor to improve our system if indeed there had been lapses,” Chaclag said.
14 November until 2 January, as part of the MMDA’s traffic mitigation measures for the holidays.


Meanwhile, Remulla revealed that some of the Chinese nationals deported last Wednesday, 19 October preferred to be charged in the Philippines so they could prolong their stay in the country.

Remulla said during a radio interview that foreigners facing charges cannot be deported under the laws of the country since they have to face their cases in courts.

The justice chief said there are many genius lawyers who have been doing it for a long time whenever their clients who are illegal aliens don’t want to be deported.

“A foreigner who is facing charges under our laws cannot be deported,” Remulla said.

Thus, the foreigners who can be deported are those with no pending cases in the Philippines and their only offense is overstaying.

Last Wednesday, six Chinese nationals were deported and was identified in the report to Remulla as Yu Min, Nie Zhengbiao, Gan Xueliang, Xu Yuangang, Qian Jie and Yang Bin.

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