Mabasa lawyer: Evidence points to Bantag as mastermind in Lapid slay

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 7) — The lawyer of the Mabasa family said the evidence so far gathered by authorities are enough to name suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag as the mastermind behind the killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid (Percival Mabasa).

Ine-expect ko lang (I just expect), I’m not at liberty at saying but I am only saying this based on my opinion only based on the evidence. It's no other, it’s pointing to Mr. Bantag,” lawyer Berteni Causing told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Monday.

“I’ve read all the affidavits. Number one for formality. They are admissible because all the requirements by the Constitution in taking of extrajudicial confession were complied with. Number two, the questions that were posed on them were actually, to my mind, are already sufficient to get the supposed details in order for us to say -- that for me to make an opinion -- that the mastermind is actually Mr. Bantag,” he explained.

Also on Monday, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said complaints were filed against Bantag and others in connection with the killing of the radio broadcaster and the alleged middleman Jun Villamor.

“It was found through the investigation that both Director General Gerald Bantag and [BuCor] DSO [Deputy Security Officer] Ricardo Zulueta were behind the killing of both Percy Lapid and Jun Villamor,” NBI spokesperson Eugene Javier said in a briefing, noting that the suspended BuCor official had a clear motive to order the killing.

Asked what could be the motive behind the murder, Causing said this could be revelations made by Lapid against Bantag, which was also stated by Javier during Monday’s press briefing.

Causing said so far the Mabasa family is a “little satisfied,” based on evidence.

“But they are still thinking there is another mastermind behind the mastermind, so we are thinking that possibility to come up later,” he added. “What is important for us is the person, which is dictated to by the evidence is now to be tried.”