No coordination lapse on Percy Lapid slay broker – NCRPO chief
MANILA, Philippines — National Capital Region Police Office chief Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo has rejected the allegations of suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Gerald Bantag that the Philippine National Police was to be blamed for coordination lapses after one of the alleged middlemen in the plot to kill journalist Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa died inside New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
The alleged middleman passed away on Oct. 18, a day after the surrender of Joel Escorial, the confessed gunman in the killing of Mabasa who pointed to a certain “Crisanto Villamor” as the person who gave him the orders to kill the radio commentator for P550,000.
The BuCor had said it did not have Crisanto Villamor on its list of inmates when they were first asked by the PNP, only to be certain later that Escorial was referring to “Jun Villamor,” the registered name of Crisanto Villamor.
Died of suffocation
Estomo said the BuCor should have had the initiative to secure all inmates with the Villamor surname even without being told by the PNP. “If I were the BuCor chief, I would have secured all of them even if there are 100 of them. I will call the hitman and ask him to identify the middleman,” he told reporters in an interview.
The PNP also could not give orders on their level because the BuCor is under the Department of Justice, Estomo pointed out.
The initial autopsy indicated Villamor had died of cardiac arrest but an independent autopsy later performed by top forensic pathologist Raquel Fortun revealed that Villamor died of asphyxia or suffocation, and may have suffocated from a plastic bag placed over his head.
Ang Probinsyano party-list Rep. Alfred delos Santos on Monday highlighted the importance of forensic pathologists on criminal probes, citing a questionable gap in the custody of the body of the alleged middleman in the Mabasa slay as shown in an autopsy report.
The autopsy report on NBP inmate Jun Villamor had been presented by Fortun, one of only two forensic pathologists in the country, who was asked by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla to conduct the examination of the remains.
Bladder almost empty
In a statement on Monday, Delos Santos, who is also a House of Representatives deputy majority leader, said three things stood out in Fortun’s autopsy report on Villamor’s body:
- It was a second autopsy post-embalming.
- Pale conjunctiva, an indicator of lack of oxygen in the blood, on the eyes.
- The bladder was almost empty.
According to Delos Santos, since the body was autopsied — first by the National Bureau of Investigation and then by Fortun — after it was embalmed “some internal organs were no longer present in the body because they were removed during the embalming process. It is quite probable the chemicals and processes used during embalming may have altered some tissues or removed evidence.”
He also cited the pale conjunctiva observed which occurs when a person’s oxygen supply is cut.
“The Fortun autopsy stated that 40 ml of yellow urine was recovered from the urinary bladder. The bladder can hold 200 ml to 500 ml of urine. This means the bladder was almost empty. When people die they sometimes pee as a result of the absence of bladder muscle control.”
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