Remulla says alleged middleman in Percy Lapid slay died in Bilibid this week


MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:52 p.m.) — The supposed middleman who arranged the killing of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid from inside the New Bilibid Prison died this week, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said.

ABS-CBN News reported that Remulla confirmed the death of the supposed middleman, a Person Deprived of Liberty at Bilibid, last October 18.

"Alleged middleman, hindi ko talaga alam ang storya niyan ano. Alam ko lang, naabutan ko lang talaga na (I don't really know the story here, all I know is) the gunman pointed out to some people and there are six of them, and how it was organized or how it happened, I do not know. But the gunman is the one who has spoken so far,” Remulla told reporters at an unscheduled interview on Thursday.

The DOJ chief added that the inmate was brought to the NBP hospital. He added that they want to determine the circumstances of the death of the supposed middleman.

“[National Bureau of Investigation] autopsy is very important. We will open it to other medicolegal experts to find out,” Remulla added.

The justice chief admitted that other details remain unclear, including the criminal record of the supposed middleman, but he was 42 years old.

In a statement, the Mabasa family said they are "deeply saddened by the report about the mysterious death of the alleged middleman" at the national penitentiary.

Escorial surrendered to authorities earlier this week, saying he feared for his security after CCTV images of him were made public.

He claimed that the hit order came from the Bilibid, and authorities were directed to conduct an investigation into the claim.

RELATED: Percy Lapid — broadcaster and government critic — shot dead in Las Piñas

Preliminary investigation

Meanwhile the DOJ, in a separate statement, said the murder complaint filed against confessed gunman Joel Escorial in the killing of Lapid, whose real name is Percival Mabasa, will undergo preliminary investigation.

This means that Escorial, who already confessed to shooting Lapid, will be given a chance to submit his defense through a counter-affidavit.

Initially, the complaint filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Lapid’s brother, Roy Mabasa, was set for inquest proceeding on October 24.

The DOJ in a statement said Escorial re-affirmed his extrajudicial confession where he admitted shooting Lapid three times on October 3 in Las Piñas City. He also said he was accompanied by Israel Dimaculangan, Edmon Dimaculangan and a certain Orly/Orlando are currently at-large.

“They planned and executed the same upon inducement or order of a certain Crisanto Palana Villamor, also known as ‘Idoy,’ who promised to pay them P550,000.000. Moreover, alias Orly/Orlando and Dimaculangan brothers joined Escorial because a certain Christopher Bacoto (Yoyoy), also known as “Jerry Sandoval,” talked to his companions to help him in killing Percy Lapid,” the DOJ said.

RELATED: Killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid draws wide condemnation

The department pointed out that only three of the identified cohorts have been named as respondents in the complaint while Villamor and Bacoto have been left out.

The DOJ said investigators of Las Piñas City Police Station and the CIDG, PNP were “directed to conduct further investigation of the personalities named in the affidavit of Escorial to determine their whereabouts and participation, whether directly or indirectly, and include them all in the complaint as respondents or charge them accordingly.” — Kristine Joy Patag

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