Killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid condemned in indignation rally

Journalists and activists hold an indignation rally following the killing of Filipino journalist Percival Mabasa, also known as Percy Lapid, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on October 4, 2022. (PHOTO: Lisa Marie David/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Journalists and activists hold an indignation rally following the killing of Filipino journalist Percival Mabasa, also known as Percy Lapid, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, on October 4, 2022. (PHOTO: Lisa Marie David/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A day after the brutal killing of broadcaster Percy Lapid, journalists and human rights advocates staged an indignation rally at the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City to condemn the killing of the commentator.

The radio commentator and columnist, whose real name is Percival Mabasa, was gunned down by two armed suspects while on his way to his online broadcast in Talon Dos, Las Piñas City on Monday (Oct 3) according to authorities.

Mabasa is the second journalist killed under the Marcos administration. He was known for his radio program ‘Lapid Fire’ where he criticized the Marcos and Duterte administrations.

“The killing shows that journalism remains a dangerous profession in the country. That the incident took place in Metro Manila indicates how brazen the perpetrators were, and how authorities have failed to protect journalists as well as ordinary citizens from harm,” the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said.

According to NUJP, Mabasa is the 197th journalist killed in the Philippines since 1986. The country remains one of the deadliest countries for journalists in the world.

Progressive labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) also joined the rally, condemning the brutal murder of the journalist.

Walang ibang may tangka sa kanyang buhay kundi ang mga nasa kapangyarihan na nais siyang patahimikin dahil sa kanyang pagiging prinsipyado at matapang na kritiko ng gobyerno,” KMU Chairperson Elmer Labog said.

(There are no people who would threaten his life other than those in power who wanted him silenced because of his principles and criticisms.)

Investigations

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday announced that they are already conducting a motu proprio investigation on the incident.

“CHR stands with the media community in denouncing and condemning this violent crime and violation of the right to life. Journalists are essential in upholding democracy and demanding accountability in any society,” it said in a statement.

“One episode of media killing is already far too many. As such, we urge the government, particularly our law enforcement officers, to bring the perpetrators to account,” it added.

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. has reportedly instructed authorities to investigate the ambush after the killing caught local and international attention.

“The Office of the President, particularly President Marcos, is concerned with what happened to Percy Lapid. In fact we have been instructed to take a look at the conduct of the investigation on the ambush of him last night,” Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Guevarra said on Tuesday.

Additionally, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) in Las Pinas said that they will lead the probe on the incident and vowed to “bring justice” to Mabasa.

Foreign attention

The embassies of Canada and Netherlands in the Philippines have also expressed their condolences to Mabasa’s family, pushing for investigation on the killing.

“Journalist killings strike at the very core of media freedom & can create a chilling effect that curtails the ability of journalists to report news freely & safely,” the embassies, who co-chair the Media Freedom Coalition, said on Tuesday (Oct 4).

“Such attacks on media workers must be urgently investigated, and those responsible must be held to account,” the embassies said, urging authorities to create a “safe environment for journalists to carry out their work without fear for their lives and safety,” they added.

The statement was supported by France’s embassy as well as Britain, Germany, Denmark, and the European Union (EU).

“France reaffirms its resolute, unwavering commitment to the freedom of the press, freedom of speech and protection of journalists,” the French Embassy in the Philippines said.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings. The views expressed are her own.