Media and journalism issues

Lapid Fire: Percy Lapid’s frequent targets, and why he turned away from Marcos

Gelo Gonzales
Lapid Fire: Percy Lapid’s frequent targets, and why he turned away from Marcos

MEDIA KILLING. Percival Mabasa, better known as Percy Lapid, was shot dead on October 3, 2022.

Screenshot from Lapid Fire/YouTube

Percival Mabasa, in his earlier videos, had praised Marcos but shortly turned away from them, explaining in a video that we had been made to believe that life was good in the Marcos era

MANILA, Philippines – Slain radio journalist Percival Mabasa – Percy Lapid to his listeners –  had a sharp, colorful tongue for erring politicians. 

His biggest target had been former President Rodrigo Duterte. A scan of Lapid Fire’s YouTube archive of 7,772 videos shows you the 63-year-old’s distaste for Duterte, whom he often referred to as “Digongniyo” (a portmanteau of Digong, Duterte’s nickname, and demonyo or devil) to mock Duterte supporters whom, in turn, he referred to as “Dutertanings,” a portmanteau of Duterte and taning, a colloquialism for Satan. 

Some of his videos on Duterte include “P-DUTERTE, UTO-UTONG PRESIDENTE;” “P-DUTERTE, WALANG PANININDIGAN sa PAMBABABOY ng CHINA sa PINAS!;” “P-DUTERTE, CERTIFIED NA ‘NUISANCE CANDIDATE’ SA 2022 ELECTION!;” and “MGA PINAGSASABI NI P-DUTERTE, PANG-MENTAL HOSPITAL NA!” (Duterte, fool president; Duterte, no integrity against China and its foul treatment of the Philippines; Duterte, certified nuisance candidate in 2022 election; Duterte’s statements are fit for the mental hospital)

Mabasa’s “Lapid Fire” received 132 million views since it was created on May 8, 2019.

Duterte’s cohorts found their way under Mabasa’s spotlight from time to time, including Harry Roque (“HARRY ROQUE, NAG-ANGAS LABAN sa MAMAMAYAN!” or Harry Roque’s arrogance towards citizens); Salvador Panelo (“PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN on FAKE NEWS si PANELO?” or Is Panelo the presidential spokesman on fake news?); Bong Go (“BONG GO, Hindi Na Dapat Nag-SENADOR!” or Bong Go shouldn’t be a senator); and Bato dela Rosa (“BATO, WaLang ALam sa “ACCOUNTABILITY“! or Bato knows nothing about accountability).

Former presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (“GLORIA ‘MAKAPAL’ ARROYO, ISA SA KAHINDIK-HINDIK NA BAGONG APPOINTEES NI P-DUTERTE!” or Gloria Arroyo, one of the worst appointees of Duterte) and Joseph Estrada (“ERAP, Puro ‘KAHAYUPAN’ ang Ginawa sa MAYNILA!” or Erap only did reprehensible things to Manila) have also been under “Lapid fire,” but it is the latter along with his son Jinggoy (“JINGGOY ‘PLUNDER’ ESTRADA, Pinagpiyansa ng Sandigan-BAYAD!” or Jinggoy Estrada posts bail from Sandiganbayan) that appear to be a bigger favorite of Mabasa. Duterte aside, it would appear that Erap’s name is among the most mentioned in his video titles.

Among clear opposition figures, Mabasa – several years before the presidential elections – took aim at Senator Risa Hontiveros with videos such as “Lecheng RISA HONTIVEROS, VILLAR, SAWSAW sa LGBT Issue!” and “RISA HONTIVEROS, Kunwaring Makabayan!”

Hontiveros is the only opposition senator to win a seat in the 2022 elections.

Support for Leni Robredo, and former allegiance towards Marcos

Former presidential aspirants Ping Lacson, Isko Moreno, and Manny Pacquiao became targets, too, as the host publicly supported Leni Robredo in the most recent presidential race. Mabasa rebroadcast some of Robredo’s official videos including her announcement to run and other statements to supporters. During the election period, Mabasa also placed vertical pink bars on the left and right sides of his videos in support of Robredo’s pink campaign, wore pink from time to time, and publicly proclaimed his support in the show.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., then the forerunner in the elections, quickly became a frequent subject of Mabasa’s criticism as the election season began in late 2021: “BAKIT TAYO NABUWISIT KAY BONGBONG MARCOS?” ; “KAMPO NI BONGBONG, BISTADO NANG WALANG MAILABAS KUNDI PANINIRA KAY VP LENI!;” “BUKOD SA PERA, ANO ANG MERON KAY BONGET??” (Why we’re pissed off at Bongbong Marcos; Bongbong’s camp exposed – can’t come up with anything but defamatory statements against VP Leni Robredo; and Aside from money, what does Bongbong Marcos have?)

Mabasa had also supported Robredo in the vice presidential race in 2016, praising her character and integrity, and later, criticizing Marcos Jr’s attempts to overturn Robredo’s VP victory. 

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While Mabasa remained a Robredo supporter in her VP years and during the elections, the host had described himself as, in his own words, a former “Dutertaning.” “Dutertaning din ako noon, hindi ko alam eh. Akala natin eh totoo mga pinagsasabi nito eh. ‘Yun pala eh, nuknukan pala ito ng bulaan, sa gobyerno na walang palabra de honor,” he explains in a video titled “BAKIT HINDI Na TAYO ‘DUTERTANING’ NGAYON?” (I was a Dutertaning, I don’t know why. I thought he was truthful. But as it happened, he’s a liar, and his government has no word of honor.)

Likewise, in Mabasa’s earlier videos (the first upload was made on May 10, 2019 but also re-uploaded excerpts from 2018), he had expressed clear support for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his clan, with sentiments that would have gotten him branded an apologist back then. Later, he would denounce the Marcoses. 

Mabasa had videos titled “MARCOS, PinakamagaLing na Naging Presidente ng PILIPINAS!;” “PAGNANAKAW ‘Daw’ ni MARCOS, ‘PURO BINTANG LANG’!;” and “MARCOS, Pinaka-NATIONALISTIC na Presidente ng PILIPINAS!” (Marcos, the best president of the Philippines; Marcos’ thievery mere accusations; Marcos the most nationalistic president.)

In the video where he praised Marcos as the best president, he said that Ninoy Aquino’s assassination had been just a way to make the people angry at Marcos, and that Aquino was a double agent, the NPA’s founder, and a member of the CIA.  In other videos, he disparaged those who had claimed Marcos’ war medals to be fake, and those who protested the dictatorial patriarch’s burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani. 

Later on, starting in October 2019, he would take on a more neutral tack, with videos calling for people to move on from the Marcos vs. Aquino arguments, paving the way for his clear opposition against the Marcoses. 

As the 2022 presidential election began, he would publish videos opposing Marcos such as “MGA MARCOS, GUSTONG PALITAWING WALA SILANG NAGING KASALANAN SA TAUMBAYAN!”; “PAANO ‘NINAKAWAN’ NG MGA MARCOS ANG MGA PILIPINO?”; and “ANO ANG ‘TOTOONG’ MOTIBO NI MARCOS SA PAGDEDEKLARA NG MARTIAL LAW?” (The Marcoses want to make it appear that they have no sins against the citizens; How Marcos stole from the Filipinos; and What was Marcos’ true motives in declaring martial law.)

His take on Ninoy Aquino had also changed, praising him for his sincerity, and calling him the measure of a true leader.

In a video on November 11, 2021, he published a video titled “BAKIT HINDI NA TAYO MAKA-MARCOS NGAYON?” where he said “Ang ganda raw ng buhay noong kay Marcos noon. Sinabi ko rin ‘yan. Pero ngayon na-realize ko, unti-unti nating binabalikan ang panahon ni Marcos – na mabuti nalang nakatala hanggang ngayon at available ang information sa internet patungkol sa mga pinaggagawa ni Marcos – kaya lang pala tayo nagagandahan, [akala natin] okay na ang ganoong pamumuhay.”

(Life was supposedly good under Marcos. I said that too. But now I realize, looking back at the time of Marcos – which, it’s a good thing that information is available on the internet as to what Marcos did – one reason why we thought it was good was that we thought that a meager living was enough.)

Mabasa recounted how tough it was to get a job during that time, and even if you had a job, it was often that you didn’t earn enough.

Mabasa’s latest videos before his death criticized resigned press secretary Trixie Angeles, and called for punishment for online trolls. But he also couldn’t resist taking a dig at Duterte again with a recent video about how President Marcos Jr. is not a credit-grabber, unlike the previous administration. – Rappler.com

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.