Philippine prisons chief accused of ordering journalist murder

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Philippine police has accused the country’s prisons chief of ordering the killing of a prominent radio journalist, whose death sparked international alarm.

Radio personality Percival Mabasa, 63, who went by the name “Percy Lapid” in his programme, was shot dead in a Manila suburb on October 3 as he drove to his studio.

Police filed murder complaints against Bureau of Corrections director general Gerald Bantag, who is currently suspended from duty, and his deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta.

The alleged gunman, Joel Escorial, surrendered to authorities last month out of fear for his safety after police broadcast his face from security footage, officials said previously.

Bantag allegedly ordered the murder of Mabasa following the “continued expose by the latter of the issues against the former on his show,” Eugene Javier of the National Bureau of Investigation told reporters, reading from a statement.

Bantag and Zulueta have also been accused of ordering the killing of Cristito Villamor Palana, one of the prison inmates who allegedly passed on the kill order to Escorial.

While the Philippines is ranked as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, such murders rarely happen in Manila.




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