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Thursday, December 7, 2023

After a year, Percy Lapid’s family still seeking justice

The family of slain broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa on Tuesday said they stand united in their call for justice to ensure those responsible for his death are held accountable.

It has been a year since the veteran newsman was shot to death by gunmen.

“On this occasion, we remember Ka Percy Lapid whose life was tragically cut short one year ago. The family stand(s) united in our call for swift justice to ensure that those responsible for this loss are held accountable,” newsman Roy Mabasa, Percy’s sibling said in a statement sent to reporters.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Monday said contempt charges await three vloggers (video bloggers) who published online an interview with fugitive former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag who is wanted for murder in connection with the killing of Mabasa.

JUSTICE FOR MABASA. A protester holds a sign asking for justice for slain radio broadcaster Percival ‘Percy Lapid’ Mabasa. One year after Mabasa’s killing, members of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Freedom for Media Freedom for All (FMFA), and others, troop to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appeal for justice. Norman Cruz

He said the act of these vloggers undermines the courts and the legal processes. The DOJ chief, meanwhile, said law enforcers are validating leads on Bantag’s current whereabouts as well as several John Does.

Bantag and former BuCor deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta are facing murder charges before the Muntinlupa and Las Piñas regional trial courts over last year’s killing of Mabasa and Cristito Villamor Palaña (alias Jun Villamor), an inmate at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

Mabasa was shot by armed men near his home in Las Piñas City on Oct. 3, 2022.

Senator Risa Hontiveros meanwhile said the story of the slain broadcaster is all too common in a country that is supposedly free and democratic.

Speaking a forum dubbed as “Keeping the Flame of Freedom Alive: Case Study of Percy Lapid Mabasa at UP Diliman,” Hontiveros said that in 2022, the global watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the Philippines as the 7th most dangerous country in the world for media workers

She also noted that the Philippines has a sorry track record when it comes to achieving justice for media killings.

She cited a report in 2022 by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), of the 176 media workers killed in the Philippines since 1986, only 19 have resulted in convictions.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the Freedom for Media Freedom for All (FMFA) network, and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines meanwhile gathered in front of the Department of Justice to call for justice for Mabasa.

“As we mark the first year of his murder, the FMFA coalition calls for the swift justice of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid Mabasa,” the FMFA said in a statement read by Martha Teodoro from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

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