Remulla: Second middleman, another person-of-interest now secured
MANILA, Philippines — The police have secured two more persons of interest related to the killing of broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa.
One of the persons of interest, Christopher Bacoto, is from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said at a press conference. Bacoto is being tagged as the “second middleman.”
Based on a Thursday statement by the Department of Justice, Bacoto was the one who recruited a certain Orly or Orlando and brothers Israel Adao and Edmon Adao Dimaculangan to join Joel Escorial in killing Lapid.
On the other hand, Remulla said a person of interest, an inmate from the New Bilibid Prison has been transferred to the Philippine National Police Custodial Center last night.
Remulla identified the inmate as Jose Palana Villamor, he is “related” to the inmate who died last Tuesday.
“I called the New Bilibid to turn over the person, and he was turned over to the PNP last night. He is now in the PNP Custodial Center. This person of interest may be a witness, who may know about the persons involved from inside the Bilibid,” Remulla said.
The DOJ chief lamented that the justice department could have immediately secured Villamor if the police had made proper coordination.
“For me, it was just unfortunate. If I was informed that we had to secure somebody inside Bilibid, that could have been done very early. Last night they requested me to secure the other possible witness, in one and a half hours, the person was already with the police. We were able to secure the person immediately,” Remulla said.
“Coordination is very important, and there was probably a shortcoming there. We did not coordinate because we are now the ones in charge [of] the investigation. We are not the ones investigating and probably in the excitement of things, it was forgotten,” Remulla said.
The information that the supposed first middleman, Crisanto Palara Villamor Jr., died inside Bilibid was given to Remulla by the police.
“I made calls to inquire about this matter, and the BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) had a hard time answering the question,” Remulla said.
He said the Chief of Police of Muntinlupa went to BuCor to verify the inmate’s identity. As it turns out, there is no person by that name [Crisanto Palara Villamor Jr.] in Bilibid.
Bilibid record showed that Jun Globa Villamor was the one who died last Oct. 18. He was convicted of murder, attempted murder, and violation of the gun ban.
BuCor Spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag said Jun Globa Villamor was taken to the NBP Hospital at 1:30 pm due to loss of consciousness.
“Medical management (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) was done by the hospital, but at about 2 pm of the same date, PDL Villamor was pronounced dead by the medical officer on duty,” Chaclag said.
The NBI-Medico-Legal team conducted an autopsy at the Eastern Funeral Service in Alabang, Muntinlupa.
“But as per BuCor Health Service, initial findings showed no signs of physical external injuries, which probably indicates a natural cause of death or no signs of foul play,” Chaglag said.
“However, we are still awaiting the official and final autopsy result, which will include a toxicology test that will be further conducted today to complete the autopsy. The final and official result will be released by the NBI Medico-Legal team accordingly after all results come in,” he added.