Percy Lapid camp wants arrest warrants vs suspects issued immediately

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 19) — The camp of Percival "Percy Lapid" Mabasa wants arrest warrants to be issued immediately after state prosecutors indicted suspects in the killing of the veteran radio broadcaster.

In a briefing on Sunday, the spokesperson for the Mabasa family, Bertini Causing, and their lawyer, Danilo Pelagio, said they are expecting the arrest warrants to come out within the week.

A March 9 resolution of a Department of Justice panel of prosecutors stated that suspended Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Gerald Bantag and his supposed right-hand man, former BuCor deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta, will face murder charges as "principals by inducement."

Self-confessed gunman Joel Escorial, as well as other inmates, will also face raps for the killing Lapid and so-called middleman Jun Villamor, a national penitentiary inmate.

READ: DOJ prosecutors to charge Bantag, others for death of Percy Lapid, 'middleman' Villamor

"Ang mensahe lang namin kay Bantag at sa mga akusado ay harapin na lang nila ang kaso para magkaalaman tayo, once and for all, kung kayo ay guilty or not guilty," Pelagio said.

[Translation: Our message to Bantag and other accused is to face the case to determine the truth, once and for all, if they are guilty or not guilty.]

Pelagio also said aside from Bantag, other high-profile personalities may be tagged in Lapid’s killing, but he would not divulge their names at this time.

Lapid was gunned down inside his vehicle in Las Piñas City in October last year. The case has sparked calls for press freedom and the protection of media workers.

About two weeks later, Villamor died inside the New Bilibid Prison. An independent autopsy showed he was suffocated with a plastic bag.

TIMELINE: The Percy Lapid slay case

The camp of Bantag earlier said it will be "filing the necessary pleadings" after a review of the resolution.