Further proof that the Philippines remains a dangerous country for journalists came on Monday night, October 3, when radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa, better known as Percy Lapid, was shot dead in Las Piñas City.
Mabasa was gunned down by motorcycle riding assailants at around 8:30 p.m., along Aria Street, Barangay Talon Dos, according to the police. Witnesses say the radio broadcaster was inside his vehicle when he was killed. The police recovered two empty shells from a firearm with an unknown caliber from the crime scene.
His family has called for justice. “Percy is beloved by many and highly respected by peers, fans and foes alike. His bold and sharp commentaries cut through the barrage of fake news over the airwaves and social media. We demand that his cowardly assassins be brought to justice.”
Mabasa is the second journalist killed under the newly minted administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. On September 18, radio broadcaster Rey Blanco was stabbed to death in Negros Oriental.
Based on the tally of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Mabasa is the 197th journalist killed in the country since 1986. Like Mabasa, most of the media workers slain in the country were radio journalists.
“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 NUJP said.
Mabasa hosted his program “Lapid Fire” on DWBL 1242, which had commentaries that were highly critical of the Marcos Jr. and Duterte administrations.
After numerous administrations have failed to guarantee the safety of journalists and ordinary citizens, there is usually an expectation from new dispensation to at the very least make an extra effort to make Filipinos feel safer. While there were lesser expectations from Marcos Jr., considering the dismal human rights record of his father, the brazen killing of Mabasa which executed in Metro Manila, where such attacks against the media are normally unheard of, makes for an especially poor start.*