Popular Philippine radio journalist gunned down in Manila

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Philippine authorities to appoint an independent team of investigators to identify the perpetrators and instigators of the murder of Percival Mabasa, an outspoken and popular radio journalist known as Percy Lapid, who was ambushed and killed in cold blood as he drove home yesterday (3 October) in Manila, the capital.

 

“Percy Lapid’s profile as a journalist and his killers’ modus operandi clearly indicate that his murder was a reprisal for his courageous and uncompromising journalistic work,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “We call on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr’s administration to appoint a team of independent investigators to shed all possible light on this murder. The president has an opportunity to show that he wants to end the impunity for crimes of violence against journalists in the Philippines.”

Mabasa was about to drive into the gated community where he lived in the Manila suburb of Las Piñas at around 8:30 p.m. when a car rammed his from behind, and then a gunman on a motorcycle drew alongside Mabasa and fired two shots at point-blank range, killing him instantly.

The host of a show on Radio DWBL named “Lapid Fire”, Mabasa was well known to listeners in the Manila area for analysing and denouncing cases of corruption and abuse of public property. He recently exposed irregularities in the importation of sugar by an agency directly connected with the administration led by Marcos Jr, who was elected president last May. The president’s executive secretary, Vic Rodriguez, resigned as a result of this scandal last month.

Average of three or four journalists killed every year

Mabasa’s brother Roy Mabasa, himself a journalist, told journalists today that he would await the findings of the initial police investigation before saying precisely why he thought his brother was killed. “But knowing my brother, those behind his killing are the persons he has been hitting on his show,” he said.

According to RSF’s press freedom barometer, the Philippines is one of the world’s ten deadliest countries for the media, with an average of three or four journalists killed in connection with their work every year.

The Philippines is ranked 147th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index.

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