MANILA – An eighth person-of-interest (POI) in the case of slain broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa has been secured by authorities, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday.
Mico Clavano, DOJ spokesperson, told reporters the POI is a person deprived of liberty and has been transferred from the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) detention facility to the National Bureau of Investigation around midnight.
“We are hoping he can give relevant info on the case as well," Clavano said. "He was actually under BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) custody but in the ISAFP facility."
The unnamed inmate is the eighth POI connected to the Mabasa case and the death of another inmate and supposed middleman, Jun Villamor.
Mabasa was on his way home when gunned down in Las Piñas City on October 3 while Villamor died at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Hospital on October 18, on the same day self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial was presented to the media.
Villamor’s death was announced two days later, supposedly of natural causes.
The second autopsy on the remains of Villamor will be released over the weekend, Clavano said, after forensics expert Dr. Raquel Fortun requested for an extension to file her written report.
BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag, whose agency supervises the NBP and who was among the officials criticized by Lapid in his radio commentaries, is under preventive suspension while a probe is ongoing.
A sibling of Villamor, being evaluated by the Witness Protection Program, claimed VIllamor messaged her from inside the prison hours before he died to reveal the names of the persons out to harm him.
Mum's the word
Meanwhile, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said vital information about the slay case should not be made public
"Tingin ko dapat matutunan din ng marami nating opisyales na sabihin (I think our officials should learn how to say) it's under investigation. We will inform you when we can," he told reporters during a visit to the Taguig City Jail for the commemoration of the 28th National Correctional Consciousness Week.
"Kung walang strategic purpose, mas mabuti na lang ipaliwanag muna na hindi magsalita at i-resolve na. Kasi minsan pag in-announce mo pa, kumbaga sa sports, kapag alam ng kabilang side 'yung strategy mo, magka-counter strategy na rin ‘yan ‘di ba (If there is no strategic purpose, it is better to explain that you can't speak about it and the case is being resolved. Because sometimes when you announce it, like in sports when the other side knows your strategy, it will make its own counter-strategy, right)?" Cayetano explained.
Cayetano clarified that he understands both the family of Lapid and the media want justice be served right away.
However, he said it should be done in the right way.
"It's not easy. I wouldn't want to be in the place ng DOJ or DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) right now. But having said, that more talk, more mistakes, " he said.
Cayetano noted that the alleged involvement of inmates in crimes is not a new problem in the NBP.
"Why don't we come up with a comprehensive plan? Hindi pwedeng installment dito. Hindi pwedeng four gives. Hindi mo pwedeng sabihing meron kaming (There should be no installment here. It should not be four gives. You can't just say that we have a) two-year, four-year, five-year plan para sa (for) Muntinlupa," he said. (PNA)