The alleged gunman in the killing of veteran radio host Percival Mabasa, more popularly known as “Percy Lapid” has surrendered to authorities, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said on Tuesday.
“Ngayong umagang ‘to, gusto ko lang i-kumpirma na nasa kustodiya na ng PNP (Philippine National Police) itong suspek na ang pangalan ay Joel Estorial. Siya ay of course taga-Quezon City (This morning, I would like to confirm that the PNP has custody of the suspect identified as Joel Estorial, He is of course a resident of Quezon City),” Abalos told reporters in a press conference at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame.
Abalos said Estorial, 38, a resident of Quezon City, turned himself to the police on Monday “out of fear for his personal safety” after his photo was released last week and a PHP6.5-million bounty was placed on his head.
Estorial revealed that there are six of them involved in the murder of Lapid and they were promised a sum of PHP550,000.
He also surrendered the firearm he used to gun down Lapid last Oct. 3 at the gate of BF Resort along Aria Street, Barangay Talon 2, Las Piñas City.
“Ang tanong ng publiko, totoo kayang sumuko yan or he’s just a fall guy? Hindi po, siya talaga. Hindi niya lang inamin because the gun itself matched the slug, nag-match ang ballistics. ‘Yung mga damit (na suot niya nung nakuhanan siya ng CCTV) na pinunit punit niya nandoon pa rin (he presented to the police) (The public may be asking, did he really surrender or he’s just a fall guy? No, it’s really him, he didn’t just admit it because the gun itself matched the slug, the ballistics matched. The clothes (that he was wearing when he was caught on CCTV) that he tore apart are still there (he presented to the police),” said Abalos.
Abalos said Estorial issued an extrajudicial confession where he also named his cohorts identified as brothers Edmon and Israel Dimaculangan and a certain Orly, who are all still at large.
Meanwhile, the two other suspects who were not identified are “from the New Bilibid Prison”.
Abalos said police are still identifying the mastermind of the crime as well as the motive.
Wearing a bulletproof helmet and vest, Estorial faced the members of the media and apologized to the family of the victim.
“Sana po mapatawad ako nila. Hindi ko naman kagustuhan yun. Nadala lang ako (I hope they can forgive me. I had no intention. I was just carried away),” he said.
Estorial said the order to kill Lapid came from someone inside the New Bilibid Prison.
Estorial narrated that he was with “Orly” a resident of Batangas, during the incident while the Dimaculangan brothers, on the other hand, were on another motorcycle.
“Kasi yung ano usapan, kung sino ang matapat doon kay Percy po, siya ang babaril eh nagkataon natapat sa akin, sabi naman po kapag hindi ko binaril, ako ang papatayin kaya binaril ko na po si Percy (What was discussed was whoever is nearest to Percy, they will shoot him. It just so happened that he was near our team, I said if I will not shoot him, they will kill me, so I shot Percy),” Estorial said.
When asked by Abalos as to who threatened him Estorial said: “Si Orly (It’s Orly).”
Estorial said the PHP550,000 was split six ways, with him getting PHP140,000 deposited into his account.
Lapid was ambushed by two men on board a motorcycle at the gate of BF Resort along Aria Street, Barangay Talon 2, Las Piñas City at about 8:30 p.m. last October 3.
A few days later, the PNP released a photo of the suspect. (PNA)