DOJ starts probe of Percy Lapid murder
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to start today its preliminary investigation of the murder complaint filed against the confessed gunman and his alleged cohorts in the killing of radio broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa.
The preliminary investigation of the murder complaint was requested by suspect Joel Escorial, according to the DOJ.
This means that Escorial, who already confessed to shooting Mabasa, will be given the chance to submit his defense through a counter-affidavit.
“Notwithstanding his extrajudicial confession, Escorial requested… a preliminary investigation and executed a waiver of his rights under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended. Thus, the case is set for preliminary investigation on 24 October 2022,” the DOJ said in a statement.
Initially, the complaint filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and Lapid’s brother, journalist Roy Mabasa, was set for inquest proceedings.
All at large
The DOJ, in a statement earlier, said Escorial voluntarily reaffirmed his extrajudicial confession admitting, among others, the killing of Mabasa on Oct 3.
He said he was accompanied by Israel Dimaculangan, Edmon Dimaculangan, and a certain alias Orly/Orlando, who are all at large.
“They planned and executed the same upon inducement or order of a certain Crisanto Palana Villamor, also known as “Idoy,” who promised to pay them P550,000. Moreover, alias Orly/Orlando and Dimaculangan brothers joined Escorial because a certain Christopher Bacoto, also known as Jerry Sandoval, talked to his companions to help him in killing Percy Lapid,” the DOJ said.
The DOJ noted that while the Dimaculangan brothers and a certain Orly/Orlando were named and charged as respondents, Villamor and Bacoto were not included as respondents.
“Las Piñas City Police Station and PNP-CIDG were directed to conduct further investigation of the personalities named in the affidavit of Escorial to determine their whereabouts and participation, whether directly or indirectly, and include them in the complaint as respondents and charge them accordingly,” the justice department said.
Officials earlier said that there were two persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) with the surname of Villamor detained at New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City before and on the day Mabasa was killed.
They were identified as Jun Globa Villamor, the alleged first middleman who died in prison on Oct. 18, and Jose Palana Villamor, who was transferred to the Philippine National Police Custodial Center last Oct. 20.
The death of Villamor inside the NBP was disclosed by officials three days after Escorial, who pointed to him as the “middleman” in the assassination plot, surrendered to the police.
Without identifying Villamor by name, Escorial had said that someone “inside Bilibid” contracted the hit on the tough-talking radioman-vlogger for P550,000.
Aside from Villamor, there was “a second middleman,” identified as Christopher Bacoto, who is in the custody of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at an undisclosed detention facility facing drug charges, according to the police.
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