After having his photo made public and having a bounty “put on his head,” a suspect in the killing of a senior radio journalist in the Philippines has reportedly turned himself into police, expressing “fear for his personal safety.” Official media published this information.
On October 3, a radio personality named Percival Mabasa, 63, who went by the name “Percy Lapid” in his program, was killed by gunfire in a suburb of Manila as he drove to his studio. In his broadcast, he used the name “Percy Lapid.” Since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. entered office in June, he was the second journalist to be murdered after his assassination.
Benjamin Abalos, the secretary of the interior, stated on Tuesday that Joel Estoril, 38, a resident of Quezon City, turned himself into the police on Monday and handed over a gun that he claimed was the murder weapon. Estorial turned himself in with the explanation that he had committed the murder.
“The pistol was a perfect complement for the slug” (from the crime scene). Abalos informed reporters that the ballistics were consistent and referred to the surrender as a “big breakthrough.”
According to the official Philippine News Agency (PNA), Estorial stated that he decided to turn himself in after seeing his photo published as a suspect in the crime and hearing that more than 110,000 dollars or 6.5 million pesos had been promised for his arrest.
On Tuesday, law enforcement officials introduced Estorial to the media wearing a bulletproof vest and a kevlar helmet; nevertheless, they did not provide many specifics regarding Estorial’s past.
The suspect stated to the reporters that he and three other people took part in the ambush on orders from an anonymous individual at the country’s national prison and that after the death, they split payment of 550,000 pesos ($9,340) among themselves. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Estorial, who also named his three other co-conspirators still at large, stated that he would have been murdered if he had not gone through with the assault. He also called the other co-conspirators who are still at large. Read more: Robert Kraft’s Friends: Show Old Photo of Him and His Wife Dana Blumberg, Whom He Married
According to the PNA, he did not elaborate on the reason for the killing or name the person who planned it; he said that the order to carry it out originated from within the detention facility.
Relatives of the murdered journalist expressed their satisfaction at the arrest but emphasized that more action was required from the authorities.
In a statement, Roy Mabasa, the victim’s brother, expressed the hope that this new information would lead to the identification, arrest, and punishment of the person responsible for the crime. We sincerely hope that Percy will not end up as one of the statistics.
Mabasa was known for being a vocal opponent of both the policies implemented by Marcos and former president Rodrigo Duterte. The Philippines is consistently ranked as one of the most hazardous countries in the world for journalists, yet many of the country’s murderers are never brought to justice.
According to the international media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists, a total of 155 journalists and media workers have been murdered in the Philippines since 1992. Read more: Shawn Harris Divorce: Everything We Want to Know!
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