2nd autopsy result: Percy Lapid slay middleman died from plastic bag suffocation
MANILA, Philippines — The middleman in the plot to murder broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa or Percy Lapid was killed inside the New Bilibid Prison, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said.
“This is not an accident, not a natural attack but a planned death,” Remulla said at a press conference at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Saturday.
Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun conducted the second autopsy on the body of Cristito Villamor Palaña also known as Jun Villamor and Crisanto Palaña Villamor. Based on her findings, Villamor’s body bore signs of asphyxia by plastic bag suffocation, pulmonary congestion, edema and hemorrhage.
“I remember Secretary Remulla asking me: Plastic bag? I said pwede, actually, pwedeng pwede,” Fortun said during the press conference.
Villamor, a New Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmate died at 2 p.m. on October 18, a few hours after Joel Escorial, the confessed gunman appeared before the media. During Escorial’s press conference, it was mentioned that an inmate at the NBP was the one who talked to him about the P550,000 fee to kill Lapid.
Initial findings from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said that there was no sign of physical injuries “which probably indicate a natural cause of death or no signs of foul play.”
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) then conducted an autopsy on Villamor’s body. It later concluded that there was “no apparent signs of external physical injury.”
The NBI findings also indicated that Villamor’s heart “showed a hemorrhagic area over the left ventricle” indicating a previous illness.
“The autopsy findings no gross morphologic cause of death and this is consistent with the reported asphyxia…Based on available information regarding the circumstances surrounding death, the manner is homicide,” read Fortun’s opinion.
At first, Fortun said she could not find anything, “meaning he was not sick of something serious, no significant injuries.” She said she was about to say that the cause of death was undetermined.
But with the information from the investigation coming in including Villamor’s text to his sister about his fear of being killed, Fortun said this was considered in the autopsy.
READ: Autopsy of ‘middleman’ in Percy Lapid killing raises more questions
Aside from Villamor’s text message to his sister, she mentioned of someone giving information explaining how Villamor died.
Remulla said, an inmate came forward and gave information detailing how Villamor was killed.
“I really had to factor in the two things–that he (Villamor) knew he was about to die and he did and that someone actually offered an explanation of cause and taking everything into consideration, it is consistent,” Fortun said.
“No morphologic findings. Yes, putting a plastic bag over one’s head, it can be very effective,” she added.
Also discovered during the second autopsy was the presence of shabu in Villamor’s system.
“The presence of methamphetamine (shabu) is another factor that we probably should not. Rumors na meron talagang shabu sa loob ng Bilibid [Rumors that there is a presence of shabu inside Bilibid] is confirmed by the fact that the person who died had shabu in his system,” Remulla said.
He said they are planning to conduct a second laboratory examination on Villamor’s urine sample.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.