Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Killer of journalist Mabasa surrenders to police

Mr Estorial said he and two other persons – still at large – were approached by an unnamed person to kill the journalist.

• October 19, 2022
Joel Estorial and Percival Mabasa
Joel Estorial and Percival Mabasa

Joel Estorial has surrendered himself to the Philippine police, confessing he was one of four persons who gunned down Percival Mabasa, a journalist and fierce critic of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

Interior Secretary, Benjamin Abalos, had described Mr Estorial’s surrender “a major breakthrough” since the late journalist’s murder had drawn international attention.

Mr Abalos claimed that the suspect who brought the murder weapon to the station turned himself in “out of fear for (his) personal safety” after learning that the police had publicised his image, which was taken from a security video after the crime.

“The gun matched the slug (from the crime scene). The ballistics matched,” the interior secretary said in an address to reporters.

Admitting his crime, Mr Estorial said he and two other persons – still at large – were approached by an unnamed person to kill the journalist. The mastermind affiliated to the Philippines national prison had offered the quartet 550,000 peso about $9,350 to commit the crime. 

Mr Estorial said the person threatened to kill him if he refused to kill the journalist.

Although Mr Mabasa’s family was glad the culprit had been found, they insisted all guilty persons must be prosecuted.  

“We hope this development leads to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the mastermind,” Roy Mabasa, brother to the late journalist disclosed in a statement. “We hope Percy does not become part of the statistics.”

Reacting to the development, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said Mr Estorial’s detention “will help chip away at the culture of impunity around journalist killings” in the country.

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