Percy Lapid burial: ‘May his death be like the planting of a seed’
MANILA, Phililppines — Slain commentator Percival Mabasa was laid to rest on Sunday afternoon, following a funeral procession to Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City, with dozens of supporters joining his family and friends.
Many among those mourners wore shirts or raised placards on which were printed the words “Justice for Ka Percy,” after the popular alias “Percy Lapid” with which he identified himself in his show “Lapid Fire.”
As his coffin was lowered at his grave, his wife and six children were heard saying amid their tears, “Paano na kami (What about us)?”
Some of Mabasa’s associates in the media who joined the funeral said they also asked themselves that question.
“A lot of us are wondering, who can take his place?” fellow vlogger Jimmy de Villa Calanog, known to his followers as “Macario Sakay,” said in an interview.
Calanog described Mabasa as a “towering, fierce but gentle figure.”
“But we have realized we don’t need someone to replace him but someone who can carry on his legacy. This responsibility does not fall on just one person, but on all of us,” he said.
The slain commentator’s younger brother, veteran journalist Roy Mabasa, urged Filipinos to bear in mind what the older Mabasa had fought and died for.
“May his death be like the planting of [a] seed that would bear fruit to our struggle for our freedom and our rights,” he said.
Voice of dissent
Mabasa, 63, was a strong voice of dissent on social media platforms otherwise dominated by supporters of former President Rodrigo Duterte and his successor, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Feisty but calm, tough but gentle, Mabasa had set himself apart through his no-nonsense radio shows that did not pander to trolls.
He would excoriate in his program government officials or state policies that he found flawed. But the feisty commentator whom friends and associates also knew to have a gentle side would always sign off with a simple “Magandang gabi (Good night).”
Mabasa was shot twice in the head as he was about to park his car at his home in BF Resort Village, Las Piñas City, at around 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 3.
He is the second journalist to be killed under the Marcos administration and the 198th since 1986.
Warning the president
Presidents were fair game in Mabasa’s program, be it Duterte or Marcos, whom the commentator criticized this early in his presidency for such issues as the approval of the budget of the Office of the President and the appointment of (now resigned) Victor Rodriguez as executive secretary.
But in his recent shows, Mabasa warned President Marcos about the alleged attempts by the Duterte camp to take him down.
Calanog said Mabasa was unperturbed about threats to his life. “And because usually threats from trolls amount to nothing,” he said.
Waldy Carbonell, a close friend and fellow commentator who was arrested by police on charges of cyberlibel last month, said: “The death of my friend is perfect because he died for a higher cause: He had chosen to stand for our freedom. Let us not waste his sacrifice.”
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