crimes in the Philippines

Bantag ‘aide’ sentenced to up to 8 years over Percy Lapid’s killing

Jairo Bolledo

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Bantag ‘aide’ sentenced to up to 8 years over Percy Lapid’s killing

KILLED. Supporters and friends of Percy Lapid pay their last respects during the wake of the slain broadcaster in Parañaque City on October 7, 2022.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Denver Mayores is the latest prisoner to plead guilty in the case of the slain broadcaster

MANILA, Philippines – A person deprived of liberty (PDL) inside the New Bilibid Prison, also known to be an aide of former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag, was sentenced to up to eight years in prison for the killing of broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa after he pleaded guilty.

“Las Piñas RTC Judge Harold Huliganga sentenced inmate Denver Mayores to 2-8 years imprisonment for being an accessory to the killing of broadcaster @lapidfire on October 3, 2022. Mayores conspired w/ Bantag and Zulueta into committing the murder of Lapid,” journalist Roy Mabasa, Lapid’s brother, said in a tweet on Monday, December 4.

Mabasa also confirmed to Rappler Mayores’ conviction. In October 2022, Lapid, a staunch critic of former president Rodrigo Duterte and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., was gunned down in Las Piñas City. A few days later, Jun Villamor, the alleged middleman inside the New Bilibid Prison who contacted people to kill Lapid, died inside the penitentiary.

Mayores originally faced a murder complaint as one of the principals by “indispensable cooperation” in Lapid’s killing. (READ: Persons accused in the Percy Lapid killing)

In filing the complaint back in November 2022, the prosecutors mentioned this line, tagging Mayores in the crime: “For Percy Lapid, it was the continued exposé by the latter of the issues against the former on his show, ‘Lapid Fire.’ This is evident from the video sent by DSO Zulueta to Denver Mayores, which was later forwarded to both Alvin Labra and Aldrin Galicia.”

Ricardo Zulueta is the other BuCor official tagged in the Lapid case. When the alleged gunman, Joel Escorial surrendered, Zulueta allegedly contacted Mayores and alerted him about Escorial’s surrender. Zulueta was allegedly concerned that Escorial might link him to Lapid’s case. Mayores later reached out to his fellow PDLs to allegedly relay Zulueta’s concern.

Meanwhile, Mabasa also said Escorial wants to lower his sentence and be transferred to Abuyog prison in Leyte before he pleads on his case. The court will promulgate Escorial’s case in February 2024, Mabasa added.

Pinag-aaralan pa kasi ng mga DOJ (Department of Justice) prosecutors kung makakaapekto ba kung sakaling i-lower ‘yong case ni Escorial from murder to homicide (The DOJ prosecutors are still studying if the case would be affected if Escorial’s case is lowered from murder to homicide),” Mabasa told Rappler.

Mayores was the latest PDL convicted in relation to Lapid and Villamor’s killings. On June 23, three Bilibid gang leaders Aldrin Galicia, Alvin Labra, and Alfie Peñaredonda pleaded guilty and were convicted for being accessories in the killing of Lapid. Another set of PDLs pleaded guilty on the case of Villamor on June 29. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

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