Filipino radio journalist Percival Mabasa, who had been a prominent critic of the Duterte and Marcos administrations, was shot dead in the Philippines.
Mabasa, 63, was driving to work at the DWBL radio station when he was killed in an ambush by two assailants on a motorcycle by the gate of his residential compound in Las Pinas, Manila, at around 8:30 p.m. local time on Monday, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP)
Two empty shells from a gun of an unknown caliber were recovered at the scene.
“A Special Investigation Task Force was already created by Las Piñas City Station of [National Capital Region Police Office] to spearhead and coordinate the investigative and prosecutorial efforts of the PNP,” the PNP said on Tuesday.
Mabasa, who hosted his program “Lapid Fire” on DWBL 1242, had been critical of former President Rodrigo Duterte and some officials under Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration.
In recent weeks, he accused the government of corruption involving anomalies in sugar imports through a state agency. Vic Rodriguez, the president’s executive secretary, reportedly resigned last month following backlash caused by Mabasa’s reporting.
His most recent commentaries on his YouTube channel also included the dangers of red-tagging, the security risks of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators and the historical distortion of Martial Law.
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“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the killing of broadcaster Percy Mabasa - also known as Percy Lapid - in Las Piñas last night,” the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) wrote in a statement. “The killing shows that journalism remains a dangerous profession in the country. That the incident took place in Metro Manila indicates how brazen the perpetrators were, and how authorities have failed to protect journalists as well as ordinary citizens from harm.”
“We call on the public to join us in condemning yet another murder of a journalist,” NUJP added. “We call on the Philippine National Police to hold the perpetrators accountable.”
No arrests have been made. According to Mabasa’s brother Roy, who is also a journalist, police officers are still gathering footage and investigating the crime.
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Join us in condemning another murder of a journalist.
Justice for Percy Lapid! pic.twitter.com/prytGWY2cO
— NUJP (@nujp) October 4, 2022
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According to NUJP, Mabasa is the second journalist to be killed since Marcos Jr. took office in late June. Radio broadcaster Renato Blanco was previously stabbed to death in Mabinay, Negros Oriental, on Sept. 18. Although a suspect related to Blanco’s case has surrendered to the police, no charges have reportedly been filed.
“We strongly condemn this deplorable crime. It was committed not only against Percy, his family, and his profession, but against our country, his beloved Philippines, and the truth,” Mabasa’s family said in a statement.
“Percy is beloved by many and highly respected by peers, fans and foes alike,” his family added. “His bold and sharp commentaries cut through the barrage of fake news over the airwaves and social media. We demand that his cowardly assassins be brought to justice.”
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) also joined the NUJP in condemning Mabasa’s killing.
“He is the latest in a long list of journalists killed in the country,” IFJ tweeted. “We urge the government to investigate the case.”
#Philippines🇵🇭: We join @nujp in condemning the murder of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid, shot dead near his home in suburban Manila on October 4. He is the latest in a long list of journalists killed in the country. We urge the government to investigate the case. @ifjasiapacific https://t.co/6OvkA700cE
— IFJ (@IFJGlobal) October 4, 2022
Mabasa is the 197th journalist killed in the Philippines since 1986, at least 99 of which were radio journalists, according to NUJP.