Journalists and advocates for press freedom on Tuesday called for justice for Percy Lapid as they commemorated his first death anniversary.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the Freedom for Media Freedom for All (FMFA) network, and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines gathered in front of the Department of Justice.
“As we mark the first year of his murder, the FMFA coalition calls for the swift justice of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid Mabasa,” the FMFA said in a statement read by Martha Teodoro from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
NUJP secretary general Ronalyn Olea said their organization has monitored 97 incidents of alleged attacks against press freedom, including three killings, since the start of the present administration.
“Ngayong araw ay pagkakaisa ng mga journalist at ang mensahe natin sa publiko ay patuloy na ipanawagan ang hustisya para sa lahat ng ating mga kasamahan,” she said.
(Today, journalists are in unity and our message to the public is to call for justice for our colleagues.)
In a forum dubbed as Keeping the Flame of Freedom Alive: Case Study of Percy Lapid Mabasa at UP Diliman, Senator Risa Hontiveros expressed hope that suspects will face the charges filed against them.
“Earlier this year, several high-ranking government officials were formally indicted for their roles in the death of Ka Percy, including former Bureau of Corrections chief Gerald Bantag,” Hontiveros said.
“I remain hopeful that Bantag and the other accused individuals on the run will be brought before the courts to face the charges against them. I believe that, sooner rather than later, justice for Ka Percy’s death will be achieved,” she added.
The senator said the justice system in the Percy Lapid case is “not working optimally and maximally.”
Lapid was shot dead in Las Piñas City on October 3, 2022.
Based on a police report, the victim was onboard his vehicle when the SUV of one of the suspects suddenly bumped the rear portion of the former's car.
In March, prosecutors indicted Bantag and BuCor former deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta for two counts of murder over Lapid's death.
In April, Las Piñas City Regional Trial Court Branch 254 issued a warrant of arrest against Bantag, who remains at large.—Joviland Rita/AOL, GMA Integrated News