Hontiveros sees justice for Percy Lapid’s death ‘sooner rather than later’
MANILA, Philippines — Hope is not lost that slain radio broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa would get justice “sooner than later.”
It was exactly a year ago this Tuesday when Lapid was shot dead while on his way home in Las Piñas.
Yet, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros remains hopeful that those tagged in the killing of Lapid, including former Bureau of Corrections Director General Gerald Bantag, would be brought before the courts to face the charges against them.
“I believe that, sooner rather than later, justice for Ka Percy’s death will be achieved,” Hontiveros said at a forum in Quezon City on Tuesday.
According to her, Lapid “paid the ultimate price for speaking truth to power.”
“For Percy Lapid, the truth was always worth telling — no matter how difficult, unpopular, or deadly it is to do so,” she said.
The killing of Filipino journalists, however, did not stop with Lapid.
The list has “only grown longer,” Hontiveros lamented.
She mentioned the case of another broadcaster, Cresenciano Bunduquin, who was killed in Oriental Mindoro last June.
“While we continue to clamor for the successful investigation and prosecution of media killings, we should also work on fostering an environment that guarantees journalists not only safety from physical violence but also legal harassment,” the senator said.
Hontiveros then vowed to continue to push for the passage of her bill, which seeks to decriminalize libel in the Philippines.
While recognizing that many of the needed reforms to stop media killings and better protect press freedom in the country lie with the government, the senator said this “does not mean that the rest of the country, and the world, should only watch and hope for the best.”
“Friends, we owe it to Ka Percy and to every single journalist slain in the line of duty to continue to seek and speak the truth and to continue the fight for genuine freedom of the press and expression so essential to our democracy,” she said.
“No ifs and no buts,” Hontiveros stressed.
Charges have already been filed against Bantag and several others allegedly involved in the killings of Lapid and Bilibid inmate Cristito “Jun Villamor” Palaña.