Veteran journalist Roy Mabasa shared that he is not fully convinced by the remarks of the suspected gunman in the killing of broadcast journalist Percival Mabasa, popularly known as Percy Lapid.
The suspected gunman, Joel Estorial, surrendered to the police and was presented to the press on Tuesday
Roy, the brother of Lapid, said that his family is grateful to the Philippine National Police for facilitating the surrender of the latter’s supposed gunman.
However, Roy said he is hoping they would be given a chance to personally see the suspect so that he can corroborate the suspect’s story.
“I would like to request the PNP to allow the family, kahit ako na lang, to meet him. If the PNP can also do a walkthrough sa crime scene and cross-check whether the surrenderee is the same person na nakita namin sa CCTV,” he told the reporters.
“This is not because I am doubtful of the results of the investigation, but this is just a reservation na siya talaga ‘yung nakita namin sa CCTV. We have to cross-match. We would like to think the PNP is gracious enough to allow the family to examine these things,” Roy added.
In an interview with DZMM Teleradyo, he said that he was able to personally view the original CCTV footage presented to him by the PNP.
“Sana kung meron kayong CCTV footages diyan ay ipag-match natin ‘yung itsura nitong dalawang tao na ‘to. Hindi ko nakikita ‘yung pagkakahawig… parang wala naman sa character nitong lumabas,” Roy said.
He also disclosed receiving a phone call from Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. last Friday who informed him about the supposed surrender of the suspect.
The PNP, on the other hand, previously said that Estorial only surrendered on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, wala akong naging opportunity to confront. Our main concern now is safety for as long as the other suspects are on the loose,” Roy said about the phone call.
He added that he is hoping the police are right about the supposed gunman.
“Sana ay padaanin ng pulisya ito sa masusing pagtingin… Kapag nagkamali tayo sa pagdampot ng gunman pa lang, ay mali na po lahat ang prosesong susundan dito hanggang sa hindi na matukoy aktwal na mastermind,” Roy said.
His doubts were echoed by some Filipinos who juxtaposed an image of Estorial and the picture released to the public by the PNP before.
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Authorities presented Estorial and identified him as a 39-year-old who resides in Quezon City.
Abalos said that the suspect voluntarily surrendered and executed an extrajudicial affidavit with the help of a lawyer.
Estorial shared that he surrendered out of fear and guilt.
Authorities previously released images from the CCTV footage showing the face of what they said was Percy’s shooter.
“May tumulong po sa akin, isang tao na may kilala po siyang pulis. Doon po ako dinala. Pina-surrender po ako doon,” Estorial said.
Abalos also denied that Estorial is the “fall guy.”
He said the latter’s gun and slugs reportedly matched those found at the crime scene, along with a ripped-up shirt the suspect was supposedly seen wearing in CCTV footage.
“Hindi niya lang inamin, because the gun itself would match the slug. Nag-match iyong ballistics. Number two, iyong mga damit na pinagpunit-punit niya. Number three, ‘yan po ang nasa CCTV,” the Cabinet offical said.
Estorial also identified three other men who were also supposedly behind the killing of Lapid and added that the order came from inside the New Bilibid Prison, identifying an “Orly” or “Orlando” as the one giving the orders.
The suspect added that their group of six was paid P550,000 to kill the journalist, which they split up.
Estorial said he got P140,000 which he deposited in a BDO bank account.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Boying Remulla said he will ask the Bureau of Corrections to look into the suspect’s claims that the kill order came from the national penitentiary.
“We should find out whoever that may be. We will expose that,” he said.
The family of Lapid said that they are hoping Estorial’s surrender would lead “to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the mastermind.”
“We hope Percy does not become part of the statistics and [we] continue to clamor for justice for Percy and the nearly 200 journalists killed since 1986,” they said in a statement shared by Roy.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Southern Police District director Brig. Gen. Kirby John Kraft said they will do a “walkthrough” at the scene of the crime at the time when Percy was killed.
He added that they had invited Roy.
“Mahaba-haba pa ang imbestigasyon para matukoy kung sino talaga ang may sala,” Kraft said.