MANILA, Philippines – Calls for justice poured in on Tuesday, October 4, in the wake of the murder of broadcast journalist Percy Lapid by unidentified assailants the night before.
In a tweet, opposition figure and former vice president Leni Robredo said authorities should not be remiss in their duty to find answers on the death of the radio commentator, whose real name was Percival Mabasa.
“In a society that is truly free, there is no space for violence and suppression of journalists,” Robredo asserted in Filipino.
In the Senate, public information and mass media committee chairperson Robin Padilla echoed calls for the immediate arrest of the perpetrators.
“This murder of a media man is an attack on the right to freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution,” Padilla said.
Senator Risa Hontiveros and former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares, meanwhile, highlighted Lapid’s role as a dissenter who kept leaders’ powers in check.
“He spoke against fake news, he was brave enough to discuss the perils of red-tagging, and he was not afraid to speak against the historical distortions of Martial Law,” Colmenares said. “He was also supposed to be part of the petitioners in filing an indirect contempt petition versus former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spokesperson Lorraine Badoy.”
“This is a brazen attack on press freedom. But this also demonstrates the inherent power of speech and truth telling,” Hontiveros added in a separate statement.
The progressive Makabayan bloc in Congress pointed out that Lapid’s killing incidentally took place just a few days before President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. marks his 100 days in office.
“The culture of impunity is worsening in the country. We condemn this heinous act against Percy Lapid and we are calling for an impartial probe on the matter,” ACT Teachers Representative France Castro said.
Ang Probinsyano Representative Alfred delos Santos said his team will study how his proposed Magna Carta for media workers could be expanded to avoid tragedies like Lapid’s death.
“Journalists are also frontliners – routinely risking their lives by being one of the first people at an active crime scene, a disaster-stricken area, and even disease-ridden communities,” Delos Santos said in a statement.
Lapid was gunned down by unknown motorcycle-riding assailants while inside his vehicle in Las Piñas City on Monday, October 3.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said he is the second journalist to be killed under the Marcos Jr. administration, and the 197th since the 1986 EDSA uprising that restored Philippine democracy.
As of 2021, the Philippines was the world’s seventh worst country for unsolved killings of journalists, based on the global index of the New York-based media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists. – Rappler.com