The family of slain broadcaster Percival Mabasa, popularly known as Percy Lapid, called for the identification of the mastermind behind his killing following the surrender of the alleged gunman.
Interior and local government secretary Benhur Abalos presented in a press briefing Tuesday 39-year-old Joel Salve Estorial who said he was the one who fired at and killed Mabasa last October 3.
Estorial said he surrendered out of fear for his life when the Philippine National Police (PNP) made public his likeness last week captured from closed circuit television footages.
The alleged gunman said orders came from inside the National Bilibod Prison and he and five cohorts were paid P550,000 for the job.
Estorial claimed that he was forced to fire the gun or he himself will be killed by those who ordered the killing.
The press briefing did not identify who ordered the assassination. Reporters were not allowed to ask questions during the briefing.
Mabasa’s family said that while they would like to thank the PNP, they hope the development would lead to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the mastermind.
“We hope Percy does not become part of the statistics and continue to clamor for justice for Percy and the nearly 200 journalists killed since 1986,” the family’s statement adds.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said it welcomes the arrest of the suspected gunman.
The media group described the surrender as a positive development towards accountability for his murder.
“Accountability in this case will help chip away at the culture of impunity around journalist killings that media, civil society and government agencies have been working to change,” the NUJP said.
“We join the Mabasa family, Ka Percy’s listeners and supporters, and the journalism community in monitoring developments in the case and in waiting for justice for his death,” the media group added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)