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‘Middleman’ said person named Bantag ordered Percy Lapid killing, gunman says

The alleged middleman who facilitated the killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid said that it was a certain "Bantag" who had ordered the slaying, the confessed gunman Joel Escorial has said in a supplemental affidavit.

According to John Consulta's exclusive report on "24 Oras", Escorial said New Bilibid Prison inmate Cristito Villamor-Palaña asked him that he not identify the person who ordered the hit or else Villamor would be killed.

Villamor reportedly said that it was okay for Escorial to point to him as regards the killing. The middleman said that he himself would be killed if the name of the person who ordered the slaying would be identified.

Escorial said this was why he didn't name the person who ordered the killing when he talked with the police upon his surrender.

Following Villamor's death on Oct. 18, Escorial executed the supplemental affidavit on October 22 to include the name Bantag in his statement.

The supplemental sworn statement was one of the documents submitted in the preliminary investigation of the Lapid case before the Department of Justice.

Escorial didn't say who this Bantag was but the director general of the Bureau of Corrections at that time was Gerald Bantag.

GMA Integrated News is still trying to get his comment on Escorial's latest disclosure but he has already taken exception to comments which identified him as one of the persons of interest in the Lapid case.

According to Maki Pulido’s report on “24 Oras”, Lapid's brother Roy Mabasa said he had read four sworn statements of the gang leaders inside the prison.

Based on their statements, Mabasa said that officials of BuCor ordered the killing of Lapid and middleman Cristito Villamor-Palaña.

He said that these BuCor officials were already suspended.

“Ang lumalabas doon, BuCor officials. I presume kasama doon ‘yung mga pangalan na lumalabas na sa media. Ayokong pangunahan sila,” Mabasa said.

The PNP and NBI would name the those involved on Monday, according to Remulla.

The authorities will file murder to at least 10 individuals who killed Lapid and Villamor.

Remulla said one of the suspects had a “high position.”

“Very high in the chains Percy Lapid yung isa. We are almost there. Both cases will be bolstered by Monday,” Remulla said.

Jeric “Bacoto” Sandoval, who is the alleged second middleman, said he did not know Escorial.

“Nagugulat nga siya di niya kilala pero so far hindi niya alam ang reason,” Sandoval's lawyer Atty. Salvador Quimpo said. —with a report from Richa Noriega/NB, GMA Integrated News