Bantag, others indicted for murder of Percy Lapid, Bilibid inmate
MANILA, Philippines — A panel of prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gerald Bantag and several others over the killing of broadcaster Percival Mabasa, who was popularly known as Percy Lapid, and Bilibid inmate Jun Villamor.
In a resolution, the DOJ panel, also named Sr. Supt. Ricardo Zulueta and inmates Alvin Labra and Aldrin Galicia as respondents for two counts of murder alongside Bantag.
Likewise named respondents for Lapid’s killing are Joel Escorial, a certain Edmon Dimaculangan, a certain alias Orlando, inmates Denver Mayores and Alfie Peñaedonda, and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) detainee Christopher Bacoto. Escorial is the confessed hitman in the veteran broadcaster’s ambush slay case.
For Villamor’s murder, the panel has also named as respondents Mario Alvarez, Joseph Georfo, Christian Ramac, Ricky Salgado, Ronnie dela Cruz, and Joel Reyes.
“The preliminary investigation established that the murders of Mabasa and Villamor were attended by conspiracy between and among the respective respondents. The plan of the respondents to kill them both, includng its execution, was shown by the evidence for the complainants,” read the DOJ briefer.
“The prosecution notes that the death of Villamor were intertwined with the death of Percival and that the death of the former was used to cover-up the death of the latter,” the briefer stated.
Lapid was killed on October 3, 2022, near the gate of the subdivision where he lived in Las Piñas City.
Escorial eventually surfaced and admitted that he was hired, along with Dimaculangan and a certain Orlando, to kill Lapid. He also identified Villamor as the middleman who tapped his services to gun down the journalist.
But Villamor was announced to have died on October 18, 2022, hours after Escorial faced the public to confess his involvement in the kill plot against Lapid.