crimes in the Philippines

‘Gunman’ in Percy Lapid slay asks for lower penalty via plea bargain deal

Jairo Bolledo

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‘Gunman’ in Percy Lapid slay asks for lower penalty via plea bargain deal

ALLEGED GUNMAN. Interior chief Benhur Abalos presents Joel Escorial, the alleged gunman of slain broadcaster Percy Lapid.


Escorial is the latest suspect in the Lapid case to seek a lower penalty of homicide in exchange for admission of guilt

MANILA, Philippines – The alleged gunman in the killing of broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa asked the court for a lower penalty via a plea bargain deal.

Lapid’s brother Roy Mabasa said on Monday, August 14, that Joel Escorial filed a request for a plea bargain with Las Piñas City Regional Trial Court Branch 254, presided by Judge Harold Cesar Huliganga. During a hearing on Monday, Escorial asked the court to lower his case from murder to homicide in exchange for admission of guilt, according to Lapid’s brother.

Mabasa added that Escorial also asked the court to allow him to be placed under the Bureau of Corrections in Samar for security reasons.

Under Philippine laws, murder is punishable by reclusion perpetua, or 20 years and one day as minimum, and up to 40 years as maximum. Homicide, meanwhile, is punishable by reclusion temporal or 12 years and one day, up to 20 years maximum. If granted, Escorial’s penalty for allegedly killing the broadcaster will be cut by almost half.

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Escorial was the self-confessed gunman in Lapid’s killing. A hard-hitting radio broadcaster, Lapid was killed in Las Piñas in October 2022. His death exposed anew the existing flaws in the country’s justice system, particularly of prisons, after persons deprived of liberty were tagged in the case.

The self-confessed gunman is not the first suspect to aim for a plea deal.

On June 23, the same Las Piñas court sentenced New Bilibid Prison gang leaders Aldrin Galicia, Alvin Labra, and Alfie Peñaredonda for being accessories in the killing of Lapid after they pleaded guilty. On June 29, Galicia, Labra, and Sputnik Gang assistant commander Joseph Georfo also pleaded guilty as accessories in the death of the alleged middleman Jun Villamor.

Villamor, a Bilibid inmate, was the one who allegedly contacted people to kill Lapid. He was also killed inside the national penitentiary. –

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Jairo Bolledo

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