Remulla: Forensic expert Fortun to check Percy Lapid slay middleman's remains

Remulla: Forensic expert Fortun to check Percy Lapid slay middleman's remains
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 — The Department of Justice has asked top forensic pathologist Raquel Fortun to conduct a second autopsy on the body of one of the alleged middlemen in the killing of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla confirmed this to reporters on Monday.

“I have also spoken to her to ask her conduct second autopsy — a validative autopsy. She will also give observations, because that is the agreement that I had with Roy Mabasa, who I spoke to yesterday together with the son of Percy Lapid.” Remulla said.

Roy Mabasa is Percy's brother and is also a journalist.

The justice secretary said Fortun had already asked for proper coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation, which conducted the first autopsy, for the procedure.

This comes after the DOJ, on Saturday, released the results conduct by the NBI and siad there was "no apparent sign of external physical injury" on the body of Jun Villamor, the alleged middleman in the case who died inside the New Bilibid Prison on October 18.

"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.

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

READ: What we know so far: The ‘middlemen’ in Percy Lapid’s killing

'Not a techincal report'

But for Fortun, one of the country’s top forensic pathologists, the autopsy result is "not a technical report" but "more of an office communication."

She also questioned why the autopsy on Villamor’s body was only done two days after he died and after he had been embalmed at Eastern Funeral Homes. Even this detail, along with other information on the subject such as his sex and age—is not clearly reflected on the NBI memorandum.

With the autopsy and the a toxicology examination having been performed only after embalming, Fortun raised doubts on what the findings would be.

“Eh ‘di ba embalmed na nga? Ano kayang results ang lalabas wait tayo? (Isn’t the body embalmed already? What kind of results would come out? Let’s wait,)” she said.

She also found the findings suggesting that Villamor may have had a heart ailment before he died lacking.

"Check histopath, history, how old was he anyway? What are the other heart findings (weight, chambers, other valves, coronaries etc etc). Refer to a pathologist!" Fortun said in a series of tweets.

Meanwhile, the preliminary investigation into the murder complaint filed against confessed gunman Joel Escorial and three others began on Monday.

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

— Kristine Joy Patag

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