Probes launched into killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — Veteran radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa, more popularly known as Percy Lapid, was shot dead in his vehicle in Las Piñas City on Monday evening after receiving death threats, prompting the government, including the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to launch probes into his death.

The family said Lapid received a lot of death threats before he was killed, and because of his brave commentaries on various issues, a lot of angles (on possible motives for the shooting) could be considered, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Secretary General Ronalyn Olea told CNN Philippines' Balitaan on Tuesday.

Lapid was a staunch critic of the current administration and of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Medyo challenging din po 'yong magiging imbestigasyon pero from the looks of it, batay doon sa topics na kanyang tinalakay, ay malamang po work-related ito," Olea said.

[Translation: The investigation will be challenging but from the looks of it, based on the topics he tackled, the killing is probably work-related.]

Las Piñas City Police said Lapid was gunned down by two assailants at the gate of a subdivision along Aria St., Barangay Talon Dos. One of the attackers was on a motorcycle while the other was on board a white Toyota Fortuner.

"We are deeply saddened and angered by the brutal and brazen killing of fearless broadcaster, father and husband, brother and friend, Percy Lapid," a statement of Lapid's family posted on Facebook said.

"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," added the statement posted by Lapid's younger brother, journalist and former National Press Club president Roy Mabasa.

Before his death, Lapid hosted a radio news commentary program on DWBL 1242 called Lapid Fire, where he delivered hard-hitting criticism of perceived abuses and irregularities by the government. He was also a former broadcaster of DWIZ radio station.

The NUJP said Lapid was the second journalist killed during the term of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The first was radio broadcaster Rey Blanco, who was stabbed to death in Negros Oriental last month.

Olea said Lapid was the first in recent years to be killed in Metro Manila. He was also the 196th journalist killed in the country since 1986, the year democracy was restored after the ouster of dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, the father of the current president.

Calls for justice over Lapid's killing have since flooded the comment section on his social media posts. 

PNP, CHR launch investigations into Lapid's death

The Philippine National Police vowed to hold the perpetrators accountable, saying the local police created a special investigation task force and that the probe is underway.

Meanwhile, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Guevarra said he would meet with the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, as well as with the Southern Police District to ensure the conduct of the investigation "proceeds without any problem and submit to us, report to us hopefully within the next seven days."

The CHR, meanwhile, denounced the killing of Lapid, as it stressed journalists' role in "upholding democracy and demanding accountability in any society."

"Any threat or attack to press freedom is a direct threat to people's right to truth and information," it said in a statement.

The commission also noted it has started its motu proprio investigation into the killing of the broadcaster.

Lapid's last broadcast aired on Sept. 30 during which he tackled the dangers of red-tagging, among other political issues.