crimes in the Philippines

Alleged 2nd middleman in Percy Lapid case denies knowing gunman

Jairo Bolledo

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Alleged 2nd middleman in Percy Lapid case denies knowing gunman

ALLEGED GUNMAN. Police escort 39-year old Joel Estorial, the suspected gunman in the fatal ambush of radio commentator Percival Mabasa, more popularly known as Percy Lapid, who surrendered to police authorities at Camp Crame in Quezon City on October 18, 2022.


'He has been in prison, in a high security detention facility, for the last two years so how can he recruit?' says the lawyer of Christopher Bacoto

MANILA, Philippines – The second alleged middleman in the killing of Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa denied knowing self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial.

Lawyer Salvador Quimpo, Christopher Bacoto’s legal counsel, made the statement in an interview with reporters on Friday, November 4. He said his client also denied being a middleman in the slay.

“He has been in prison sa (in) high security detention facility for the last two years so how can he recruit?” Quimpo said.

He added: “Nagugulat nga siya. ‘Di niya kilala [si Escorial]. So far, ‘di niya alam ang reason (He was surprised. He does not know Escorial. So far, he does not know the reason).”

It was the first time Quimpo appeared in public for his client. Escorial had implicate Bacoto in the Lapid case, along with other persons deprived of liberty (PDLs). According to Quimpo, Bacoto is also known as Jeric Sandoval.

Bacoto has been detained in a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility for drug charges, and also faces frustrated homicide and frustrated murder charges, according to Quimpo.

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Bacoto also denied knowing brothers Edmon and Israel Dimaculangan and a certain “Orly” – whom Escorial named and implicated in his extrajudicial confession.

Lapid was gunned down over a month ago in Las Piñas. Shortly after his death, Escorial surrendered and named other persons allegedly involved in the killing.

However, the alleged middleman at the New Bilibid Prison, Jun Villamor, died a day after Escorial surrendered. While his first autopsy indicated there was “no apparent sign of external physical injury,” the second autopsy conducted by forensics expert Dr. Raquel Fortun showed that he died after he was suffocated with a plastic bag.

Bacoto, Escorial, and other initially identified persons were already facing murder complaints. The continuation of the preliminary investigation was held at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday.

More complaints

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are discussing more complaints against people tagged in the case.

“They’re talking between themselves about the cases they’re filing. Kasi they’re filing more cases on Monday. Kaya we’ll find out (Because they’re filing more cases on Monday. That’s why we’ll find out),” Remulla told reporters.

“We’re playing it by ear, we’re trying to close everything as early as we can but there are two to three people that we still want to talk, to just to be thorough about it,” he added.

Alleged 2nd middleman in Percy Lapid case denies knowing gunman

Remulla said murder complaints will be filed against 10 people by Monday, November 7. He added that they are preparing complaints not only for Lapid’s case, but also for the death of Villamor.

In a separate interview, DOJ spokesperson Assistant Secretary Mico Clavano said persons of interest in the Lapid case remain at 160. He added that the prisoners, who are considered persons of interest, can remain under NBI’s custody.

However, Bilibid inmates cannot apply for the Witness Protection Program since they were previously convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude, according to Clavano. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.