PNP extracts evidence from phones of gunman, sister of middleman in Percy Lapid case
MANILA, Philippines – The results of the digital forensic examination on the mobile phones of confessed gunman Joel Escorial and the sister of the alleged “broker” in the fatal ambush of Percy Lapid will soon be submitted to the prosecutor’s office as additional evidence in the case, said the police.
In a phone interview on Thursday, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo told INQUIRER.net that the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) had completed its analysis of the two persons of interest’s phones.
“As per information na provided ng director ng ACG, completed na po iyong forensic examination at inaasahan nga natin na isu-submit po nila iyong resulta na ito sa prosecutor’s office to serve as additional evidence doon sa sinampa po natin na kaso,” she said.
(As per information provided by the ACG director, the forensic examination has been completed and we’re expecting that the results will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office to serve as additional evidence to the case we’ve filed.)
Fajardo said the Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to search for the smartphone belonging to Cristito Palaña (also known as Jun or Crisanto Villamor), the alleged go-between in the murder of Lapid. Palaña died at the New Bilibid Prison hospital just hours after Escorial was paraded before the press following his surrender.
READ: DOJ chief Remulla: ‘Middleman in prison’ in Percy Lapid slay already dead
“Iyon po iyong hinahanap po ng DOJ dahil sila po iyong may administrative and operational control over the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) kaya iyon po iyong pinagsisikapan nilang hanapin para makasuporta at ma-corroborate iyong statement nitong ate po ng middleman,” Fajardo said, citing the claim of Palaña’s sister alias “Marisa,” who apparently knows those behind Lapid’s murder as it was supposedly revealed to her by Palaña via text messages.
(That’s what the DOJ is looking for because they have administrative and operational control over the Bureau of Corrections. That’s what they’re working toward finding to support and corroborate the statement of the middleman’s sister.)
READ: ‘Middleman’ revealed to sister those behind Percy Lapid murder – report
Hunt for source of money for hit
Fajardo said that the PNP is still waiting for the findings of the investigation done by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (ALMC), which was tasked in the hunt for the origin of the P550,000 sent to Escorial’s bank account for the hit.
“Once they have a probable cause, prima facie evidence na itong mga account nga ay nagamit sa krimen related nga po sa pagpatay kay Percy Lapid then, we have to take action sa ating mga korte para tayo pa ay payagan na makita officially at maging admissible po sa korte,” she said.
(Once they have a probable cause, prima facie evidence that these accounts were used for the crime related to Percy Lapid’s killing then we have to take action and ask our courts to allow us to have a look at it officially, and also for it to be admissible in courts.)
Fajardo explained that probers must uphold the bank secrecy law throughout any inquiry into who deposited the payment for Lapid’s death.
Last October 3, Lapid – the tough-talking radioman behind DWBL 1242’s “Lapid Fire” – was gunned down near the gate of a Las Piñas City village.
BuCor’s recently suspended director general Gerald Bantag, frequently targeted by Lapid’s scathing commentaries, is among the 160 persons of interest being considered by the PNP in the radio broadcaster’s death.
PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. clarified, however, that the subject of Lapid’s criticisms of his program will not necessarily make them a suspect in the case.
READ: BuCor’s Bantag among 160 persons of interest in Percy Lapid slay
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