NBI autopsy on alleged middleman in Lapid slay finds no signs of external injuries

NBI autopsy on alleged middleman in Lapid slay finds no signs of external injuries
Mourners hold placards for slain journalist Percival Mabasa during his funeral at Paranaque, Metro Manila on October 9, 2022. Mabasa, a Philippine radio broadcaster, was shot dead near his home in suburban Manila, police said on October 4, the latest in a long list of journalists killed in the country.
AFP / Jam Sta. Rosa

MANILA, Philippines — Results from the autopsy conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation show that there were “no apparent sign of external physical injury” on the body of one of the alleged middlemen in the killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid.

The autopsy findings instead suggested that Jun Villamor, who died at the New Bilibid Prison on the day that the alleged gunman in Lapid’s fatal ambush was presented to the press, may have had a previous heart illness.

READ: BuCor chief suspended as questions linger on 'middleman' in Lapid slay

“The heart showed a hemorrhagic area over the left ventricle. The mitral valve is sclerotic, which could indicate previous illnesses or valvular infection,” medico-legal officer Marivic Villarin-Floro said in the report.

NBI agents conducted the autopsy after Villamor’s body has been embalmed — a practice that has been criticized by leading Filipino forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun.

“Ideally you autopsy first before embalming. Refrigerate to store, don’t embalm. Because embalming contaminates the body, it’s an invasive procedure you inject and cut. Refrigeration preserves without these,” Fortun told Inquirer.net in January 2021, then commenting on the case of flight attendant Christine Dacera.

The NBI autopsy reinforces the initial findings of the Bureau of Corrections that Villamor probably died of natural causes instead of foul play.

Asked if the NBI autopsy results now rule out foul play in the death of Villamor, Remulla only said: "We have to ask the doctor."

Still, a toxicology report on Villamor’s body has yet to be released.

Villamor, who is known as Crisanto Villamor in a statement of the Department of Justice, Jun Globa Villamor in BuCor records and Jun Garcia Villamor according to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, is allegedly the intermediary from inside Bilibid who gave the hit order on Lapid in exchange for P550,000.

BuCor records showed that Villamor has been sentenced for attempted murder, murder and violation of the election gun ban.

Following Villamor's death, Remulla suspended BuCor chief Gerald Bantag on the orders of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to give way for a “fair, impartial investigation."

Remulla said Jose Palana Villamor, another person of interest related to the deceased Villamor, has been turned over to the Philippine National Police Custodial Center as he “may be a witness who may know about the persons involved from inside Bilibid.” — Xave Gregorio with a report from Kristine Joy Patag

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