“Family of Slain Broadcaster Demands Independent Autopsy on Accused’s Remains”

Roy Mabasa. PHOTO BY MIKE ALQUINTO
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The Call for an Independent Autopsy in the Percy Lapid Case

The family of Percy Lapid, also known as Percival Mabasa, a slain broadcaster, is demanding an independent autopsy to be conducted on the remains of Ricardo Zulueta, a former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) deputy security officer. Zulueta is one of the accused in the killing of Lapid.

Roy Mabasa, Lapid’s brother, emphasized the importance of an independent autopsy report to assure the public that the pursuit of truth is paramount. He stated, “We would like the Philippine National Police (PNP) to determine the real cause of Zulueta’s death since he was initially implicated as one of the masterminds in the killing.”

Questions Surrounding Zulueta’s Death

According to the Dinalupihan police, reports indicate that Zulueta was urgently taken to the Bataan Peninsula Medical Center on the night of March 15th. His brother, Ronald, was responsible for bringing him to the hospital. Allegedly, Zulueta passed away due to heart failure. Subsequently, his body was transferred to a funeral home and later moved to Barangay Mabiga in Hermosa, Bataan.

An In-Depth Investigation Ordered by the Justice Secretary

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla has directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a thorough investigation into Zulueta’s death. Remulla emphasized the need for swift action and the uncovering of the truth. He stated, “Exert greater efforts, act swiftly, delve deep, and uncover the truth by all means possible. This calls for immediate action.”

As of now, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not received a formal report from the NBI regarding Zulueta’s death. Remulla assured the public that they are diligently examining the veracity of the reports and will provide updates once they receive word from the NBI.

The Background of the Lapid Case

Percy Lapid was fatally shot in Las Piñas City on October 3, 2022. Ricardo Zulueta, along with former BuCor Director General Gerald Bantag, was charged as a principal by inducement in two murder complaints for the deaths of Lapid and Cristito Villamor Palaña. Joel Escorial, a confessed gunman, identified Villamor Palaña as the alleged middleman in Lapid’s slaying.

In addition to Bantag and Zulueta, the inmates Denver Batungbakal Mayores, Alvin Cornista Labra, Aldrin Micosa Galicia, and Alfie Penaredonda were also named as respondents in the Lapid case. In the Villamor Palaña case, Labra, Galicia, Mario Germones Alvarez, Joseph Medel Georfo, Christian Dizon Ramac, Ricky Lamigo Salgado, Ronnie Pabustan De La Cruz, and Joel Alog Reyes were named as co-respondents alongside Bantag and Zulueta.

The case regarding Lapid’s killing was filed on October 18, 2023. The respondents listed in the case include Escorial, Bacoto, brothers Edmon and Israel Dimaculangan, and an individual identified only as “Orly” or “Orlando.” The complaint against Escorial and his group was consolidated with the charges filed against Bantag and the others.

As the investigation into Ricardo Zulueta’s death continues, the call for an independent autopsy highlights the importance of transparency and uncovering the truth. The involvement of high-profile individuals in the Lapid case adds complexity to the situation, necessitating a thorough examination of the evidence. The justice system must ensure that justice is served and that the truth prevails.

Source: The Manila Times

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