TIMELINE: Veteran radioman Percy Lapid’s slay case | Inquirer News

TIMELINE: Veteran radioman Percy Lapid’s slay case

By: - Reporter / @BPinlacINQ
/ 01:17 PM October 20, 2022
Lapid slay case timeline

Percival Mabasa —videograb from fb page of Percy Lapid Fire

MANILA, Philippines — The killing of veteran radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa, more popularly known as Percy Lapid, sparked a spate of condemnation from journalists, government officials, lawmakers, and various groups.

On the night of October 3, Lapid was shot dead as he was driving his car near the gate of a Las Piñas City subdivision.


Lapid, the radioman behind scathing commentaries on erring government officials and personalities on DWBL 1242’s “Lapid Fire,” is the second journalist to be killed under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

Last September, radio host Rey Blanco was stabbed to death in Negros Oriental.


READ: Radioman slain in Negros Oriental

Here is a rundown of the developments in Lapid’s slay case, starting from the evening of his brutal murder:

October 3, 2022 

Lapid, 63, is gunned down by motorcycle-riding assailants at around 8:30 p.m. along Aria Street, Barangay (village) Talon Dos, according to the police.

Recovered from the crime scene were two shells from a gun of an unknown caliber.

READ: Radio commentator Percy Lapid shot dead in ambush

October 4, 2022 


Lapid’s killing triggers an outpour of condemnation from several journalists, former and current lawmakers, groups, and even from foreign nations.

READ: ‘Speaking the truth is dangerous’ in PH: Percy Lapid killing sparks condemnation 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) vows to hold the perpetrators behind Lapid’s death accountable, noting that a special investigation task force was formed and that a probe is underway.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla also assures the public that “the National Bureau of Investigation is on the case.”

READ: Presidents were fair game for slain radioman-vlogger

Similarly, the Commission on Human Rights launches its own probe into the radioman’s fatal ambush as it stressed “the crucial need to ensure a safe and unimpaired media environment in order to amplify the voices of the most marginalized sectors and to foster balance in communicating the nation’s state of affairs.”

READ: CHR starts own probe of Percy Lapid killing 

October 5, 2022

Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. visits Lapid’s wake and announces that he is personally offering P500,000 as a reward to anyone who can provide crucial information on Lapid’s killers.

READ: Abalos offers P500,000 reward for leads in Percy Lapid killing

Lawyer and businessman Alex Lopez also pledges P1 million as reward to hasten the arrest of the perpetrators.

October 6, 2022

Police release the dash cam video obtained from Lapid’s vehicle, which captures the motorcycle-riding men tailing the victim’s car moments before he was gunned down.

Gunshots were also heard in the clip before the men in the motorcycles, believed to be his assailants, fled the scene.

READ: Percy Lapid ambush: Dash cam video, other footage raise cops’ hope to ID shooters  

October 7, 2022

timeline Lapid slay

A photo of the masked ‘person of interest’ in Lapid’s case, which was extracted from surveillance cameras, is unveiled by authorities.

The gunman, wearing a pink jacket over a white shirt, was caught by a closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) in front of the Las Piñas City Hall at about 8:03 p.m. on the night of the murder.

In a press conference at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) headquarters in Taguig City, Abalos warns the gunman to surrender, saying that the mastermind who ordered him to commit the crime may “do something bad” to him.

October 9, 2022

With dozens of supporters joining the grieving cries of the radioman’s family and friends, Lapid is laid to rest at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.

READ: Percy Lapid burial: ‘May his death be like the planting of a seed’

House Speaker Martin Romuladez later announces that an additional P5 million raised by several members of the House of Representatives is being offered to anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of Lapid’s murderers.

October 10, 2022

Lapid suspect

The NCRPO releases the confirmed latest photo of the ‘person of interest’ in the killing of Lapid.

It also took note of the total reward now being offered, which has been raised to P6.5 million.

READ: Percy Lapid slay case: Reward up at P6.5M, new photo of ‘person of interest’ out 

October 18, 2022

Lapid suspect PNP presscon

After supposedly surrendering to police authorities, confessed gunman Joel Escorial is presented before the media in a press conference with Abalos and NCRPO chief Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo.

Wearing a mask, a bulletproof vest, and a helmet, Escorial speaks before reporters as he recounts the incident and names three others who are at-large – brothers Israel and Edmon Dimaculangan, and a certain “Orlando” or “Orly” – whom he alleged were his partners in crime.

He also claims they were acting on orders from “someone inside Bilibid” or from prison.

Escorial further details that a total of P550,000 was paid to their group of six, who were supposedly behind Lapid’s death. He says his cut of P140,000 has since been wired to his bank account.

READ: Confessed gunman in Percy Lapid killing surrenders, tags 3 other suspects  

Just a few hours after Escorial faced the public for the first time, one of the alleged middlemen in Lapid’s case, Crisanto Villamor Jr., is declared “dead on arrival” at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) hospital in Muntinlupa City. But this was only revealed on Oct. 20.

READ: DOJ chief Remulla: ‘Middleman in prison’ in Percy Lapid slay already dead

Unknown to him that Villamor was already dead, veteran journalist Roy Mabasa, meets with Escorial for a crime scene walkthrough to corroborate the story of his brother’s supposed hitman.

Lapid slay walkthrough

Mabasa says he believes Escorial’s account, but could not trust it absolutely. He noted, however, that he is willing to set those reservations aside in belief that the truth will soon be revealed.

READ: Percy Lapid’s brother believes confessed gunman’s story, but not 100%  

On the same day, the Southern Police District files a murder complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Escorial and his cohorts.

October 19, 2022

Mabasa appears before the DOJ to affirm his complaint-affidavit.

He also requests for police to protect the “middleman in prison” who supposedly relayed the order to kill Lapid, and trace the source of money deposited to Escorial’s bank account.

October 20, 2022

Police Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, PNP Office of the Deputy Chief for Administration, confirms in an interview with ABS-CBN News that the middleman, identified through Escorial’s extrajudicial confession, is inside a detention facility.

He says the middleman, who is facing drug-related charges, “is still undergoing trial, awaiting a decision.”

Southern Police District chief Brig. Gen. Kirby John Kraft, in a news conference later in the evening, clarifies that there is a second alleged middleman, identified as Christopher Bacoto. The second alleged middleman is being secured by the police in a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility.

This came after Remulla announced the death of Villamor, the first supposed middleman detained at the NBP.

Abalos expresses dismay over the loss of the NBP inmate, who could have led the investigation closer to pinning down the mastermind.

October 21, 2022

In a news conference, Remulla irons out the details of the story: Abalos had called him on October 20 to ask about Cristanto Villamor but records of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) show different names – Jun Villamor y Globa and Jun Villamor y Garcia.

Bacota, who supposedly coordinated with Escorial’s accomplices at-large, is in a Taguig City jail facility, Remulla says.

He also announces that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered for the suspension of BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag “in order to have a fair, impartial investigation on the matter so that all doubts will be put to rest.”

READ: DOJ chief Remulla suspends BuCor director general Gerald Bantag

READ: Confessed gunman in Percy Lapid killing surrenders, tags 3 other suspects 

In a radio interview, Kraft discloses that police investigators had started looking into Escorial’s bank. He said they have already communicated with the Anti-Money Laundering Council to help them trace the source of the alleged payment for the hit.

READ: Hunt on to find source of money for Percy Lapid’s murder; AMLC help asked

The Department of the Interior and Local Government also put Escorial in heavy guard following Villamor’s death.

October 22, 2022

An October 20 memorandum to NBI chief Medardo de Lemos from its medico-legal officer Dr. Marivic Villarin-Floro is made public by the agency.

It contained the autopsy findings on Villamor, which claimed that “there was no apparent sign of external physical injury.”

Leading forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun then raises questions on the autopsy done on Villamor, pointing out the lack of a clear timeline on when the autopsy and the embalming procedures were done on Villamor’s body.

“Nothing in the memo refers to the date of autopsy. Was it [October] 20?” she asked in a series of tweets. “The date of the autopsy is something very, very basic. Iyon lang malabo pa (Even that detail is vague)?”

Fortun also questioned other irregularities in the autopsy, pointing out that Villamor’s remains were examined after being embalmed.

This, she said, “contaminates the body” and will likely compromise the results of the autopsy.

READ: Autopsy of ‘middleman’ in Percy Lapid killing raises more questions

October 23, 2022

Kraft claims Lapid’s murder case is already deemed solved since the suspects have already been identified, including Escorial.

This, however, is later retracted by other police officials.

The SPD chief also says Escorial’s passbook had been surrendered and reviewed, showing that the P550,000 payment was deposited in increments from September 15 to October 4.

He further details that in between the deposits made, money was also withdrawn from Escorial’s bank account beginning September 15 until October 11.

Kraft adds that police have yet to identify the source of the money since they are protected by the Bank Secrecy Law.

October 24, 2022

PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. says he suspects foul play may have been involved in Villamor’s death, whom he clarified is actually named Cristito Villamor Palaña, according to a birth certificate obtained from the supposed middleman’s family.

“It’s an unfortunate incident but the timing is questionable,” he notes.

READ: PNP chief suspects foul play in death of Percy Lapid slay ‘broker’

Azurin also reveals that Bantag is among the 160 personalities often targeted by Lapid on his program, based on at least 600 of his posts which have been reviewed by the PNP.

READ: BuCor’s Bantag among 160 persons of interest in Percy Lapid slay

He clarifies that while these individuals are considered persons of interest in the case, it does not necessarily mean they are the suspects behind the radioman’s death.

Azurin then clears out that Lapid’s murder is not yet solved, contrary to Kraft’s earlier statement.

READ: PNP chief suspects foul play in death of Percy Lapid slay ‘broker’

Remulla, for his part, says Bantag is deemed as a person of interest with regards to the death of Palaña, who was previously referred to as Crisanto or Jun Villamor.

Speaking on behalf of Lapid’s family, Atty. Berteni Causing shares that they are looking into possibly filing a complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in murder against Bantag.

Lapid’s brother also discloses that he, his nieces, and nephews have been receiving death threats from a man claiming to be an NBP inmate after Escorial was presented to the public.

READ: Family members of Percy Lapid face threats amid investigation

Meanwhile, an exclusive report on ABS-CBN News’ TV Patrol finds that Palaña’s sister alias “Marisa” apparently knows information about those behind Lapid’s killing as her brother had revealed it to her via text messages.

Marisa says she knows his brother was acquainted with Escorial and Bacoto as they came from the same barrio. She also shares her belief that the three really committed the crime, but she firmly calls to likewise hold accountable those behind Lapid’s assassination.

Marisa is put under Witness Protection Security and Benefit Program after she sought help from Senator Raffy Tulfo and Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo.

Remulla is contacted by Senator Tulfo regarding a request from Marisa to get her brother’s body back after their other sibling was reportedly prohibited from visiting the funeral home where Palaña’s remains were being kept.

The DOJ Secretary assures Marisa that her brother’s body will be returned after undergoing a second autopsy conducted by an independent medico-legal surgeon.

READ: ‘Middleman’ revealed to sister those behind Percy Lapid murder – report

October 25, 2022

Azurin, in several television interviews, assures the public that the PNP would coordinate with the NBI and ask Palaña’s sister to turn her cellphone in to the police for a forensic examination.

READ: PNP to ask ‘middleman’s sister’ in Percy Lapid slay to turn cellphone in for forensic exam

The country’s top cop also bares receiving information that may lead to the mastermind after being asked about what Palaña’s supposed relative, Jose Villamor, had already disclosed to the police.

Azurin adds that Jose Villamor and Bacoto are being cooperative in the investigation as he notes that both of them were gradually sharing information about Lapid’s killing.

READ: Percy Lapid case: PNP chief bares receiving info that may lead to mastermind

October 26, 2022

Bantag denies, in a radio interview, that he was behind the slay case of Lapid, claiming that he would gain nothing from killing the journalist.

The suspended BuCor Chief rationalized that none of his other critics have been killed since he assumed his post.

READ: Bantag denies involvement in Percy Lapid slay: Anong mapapala ko diyan?

Later that day, Senator Risa Hontiveros reveals in a press conference that an anonymous caller threatened Lapid’s family, claiming that a certain “General Bantag” was behind the radioman’s assassination and Mabasa would be the next target.

READ: Percy Lapid case: Unknown caller claims ‘General Bantag is involved;’ brother next

Hontiveros then calls on Marcos and the government to protect Lapid’s family and address the slay case to signify his support to journalism and freedom of speech.

READ: Hontiveros calls on Bongbong Marcos to protect Percy Lapid’s kin

On the same day, Remulla says that Palaña’s two siblings are now under the WPP as he stressed that one of the sister’s “testimony is very important because she was a recipient of a text message which is a form of a dying declaration”.

READ: Witness protection for 2 siblings of 1st middleman in Percy Lapid killing — Remulla

Remulla adds that eight people, now considered persons of interest for the death of the alleged broker in Lapid’s murder, are now under their custody.

READ: Walo katao ikinunsiderang person of interest sa Percy Lapid murder case

October 27, 2022

Marcos says he is not convinced that Palaña died due to natural causes inside prison. He orders further investigation into Lapid’s death in order to pin down the mastermind.

Remulla later notes that there are now at least 10 persons of interest in the case, including the two sisters of Palaña.

READ: Marcos doubts Percy Lapid slay suspect died a ‘natural’ death

As Marcos doubts the alleged middleman’s cause of death, Remulla says Palaña’s demise may possibly be treated as a murder case, again citing the late inmate’s “dying declaration” to Marisa.

“It’s no coincidence,” he underscores.

READ: Death of middleman in Percy Lapid case a possible murder — Remulla 

Hontiveros, meanwhile, turns over the evidence of threats received by Lapid’s family to the PNP, hoping that it would fast-track the probe into the forms of harassment faced by the radioman’s kin.

READ: Hontiveros turns over evidence of threats on Percy Lapid’s family to PNP

The Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) also completes its forensic examination on the phones of Escorial and Marisa. The PNP, however, says the NBI is still scouring the NBP for the mobile phone of Palaña.

READ: PNP extracts evidence from phones of gunman, sister of middleman in Percy Lapid case 

The PNP also awaits the results of the investigation conducted by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (ALMC), who are on the hunt for the source of the P550,000 wired to Escorial’s bank account for the hit.

READ: ‘Money trail’ sa Percy Lapid-case hiniling na imbestigahan ng AMLC 

October 28, 2022

Remulla says it is “very possible” to know the mastermind behind the death of Percy Lapid in a week, noting that the investigation of the PNP and the NBI has “made a lot of progress.”

READ: Mastermind in Percy Lapid slay known next week? ‘Very possible,’ says Remulla

Meanwhile, in an INQside Look interview, Mabasa says he is “not that optimistic” with the ongoing probe into his brother’s slay case as he fears that the justice system will be elusive despite the fast-paced developments in the investigation.

READ: ‘I’m not that optimistic’: Percy Lapid’s brother fears justice will be elusive

October 29, 2022

Results of forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun’s second autopsy on Palaña are made public. The report found signs of asphyxia by plastic bag suffocation, pulmonary congestion, edema, and hemorrhage, which contradicts with the initial autopsy findings of the NBI.

READ: 2nd autopsy result: Percy Lapid slay middleman died from plastic bag suffocation

October 30, 2022

Lapid’s kin decries the “smear campaign” launched against Mabasa, which alleged that he was taking over the investigation by seeking help from the US embassy.

They explain that embassies of several countries have reached out to Mabasa as he had previously been immersed in foreign relations as a journalist.

READ: Percy Lapid kin denounce ‘smear campaign’ against them

October 31, 2022

Following his suspension, Bantag reasserts his innocence and says he would rather die than be jailed.

“The government and I will just end up trying to kill each other,” Bantag says, also airing a warning to Marcos that he should be cautious in appointing the next BuCor officer-in-charge.

READ: Suspended BuCor chief Bantag: ‘I would rather die, than be jailed’

November 1, 2022

Estomo denies Bantag’s allegations that there were lapses in the coordination of BuCor and the PNP following Palaña’s death inside the NBP.

He also maintains that the PNP is not to be blamed for the death of the alleged middleman.

READ: No coordination lapse on Percy Lapid slay broker – NCRPO chief

November 3, 2022

Mabasa, in an interview, says they are tying up loose ends and have met with Remulla as “someone has already been pinpointed.”

He also notes that they will file the necessary cases within the week.

READ: We’ll file charges around weekend, Mabasa kin says

Thirteen inmates considered as persons of interest in Lapid’s assassination are now held under NBI custody, particularly 11 NBP inmates – one of which was under the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and another from the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa, who arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Remulla says authorities are now close to identifying two persons of interest, who could be the masterminds behind Lapid’s killing.

READ: 13 ‘persons of interest’ in Lapid slay held by NBI

— With reports from Alyssa Joy Quevedo, trainee

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