Lapid

Lapid case a ‘Web of conspiracy’

November 3, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 435 views

Probe has all ingredients of ‘blockbuster movie

THE ongoing investigation into the murder of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid and a New Bilibid Prison inmate has all the ingredients of a blockbuster movie featuring a hard-hitting radioman, a group of rogue jailguards and lastly, inmates willing to kill not only for a fee but most importantly to maintain their perks and privileges while under detention, officials privy to the probe told the Journal Group.

“It is really like a script in a local or Hollywood movie. The ‘brains’ want a radioman known for his harsh commentaries to be silenced forever and to do that, he lets his men do the legwork by asking hardened inmates to look for assassins in the underworld. Once their plot is discovered, they will also order the killing of would-be witnesses,” said an investigator on condition of anonymity.

The official said they are looking into the involvement of over a dozen persons in the killing of Crisanto Villamor alias ‘Idoy/Jun Gloma Villamor, a ‘middleman’ in the Lapid contract killing who was identified by confessed 39-year-old gunman Joel Salve Estorial.

Some of suspects are now former Bureau of Corrections officers and men who were believed to have ordered some prison gang leaders to kill Villamor to prevent him from squealing hours after Estorial made a televised confession.

The accused former BuCor personnel were said to be among the 56 Bureau of Jail Management and Penology officers who were brought to the prison bureau by former Director General Gerard Bantag. All are now being probed for violating a government ‘secondment’ policy which allowed them to receive double compensation from the government, another source said.

The sources said that some NBP ‘mayores’ or gang leaders are being probed for having a direct hand in the plot to assassinate Lapid and later, the killing of Villamor.

Some of the suspects who were serving jail terms for drug-related offenses were said to have ‘contributed’ the P550,000 paid to the group that killed Lapid.

PRISON ‘BUSINESSWOMAN’ UNDER PROBE

A ‘businesswoman’ who was earlier reported to have paid the Lapid killers the P550,000 has also turned out to be highly-connected inside the Bilibid Prisons where she is known for earning huge amount of money smuggling contrabands specifically liquor.

The woman was identified as the one who deposited a total of P350,000 to the Banco de Oro account of Escorial. The first P300,000 deposit was made last October 4 and the P50,000 on October 7.

The accused prisoners reportedly agreed to shell out the money to avoid being transferred to other prison facilities outside the NBP where the living condition is much worse and they could not enjoy their Bilibid privileges and rank.

Sources said they have discovered that before he was killed, Villamor was made to live in a ‘kubol’ by himself, away from the prying eyes of majority of the NBI prisoners. The late prisoner, sources claimed, already knew he was going to be ‘silenced’ and even asked that he be killed by ‘injection.’

The accused NBP prisoners have already been under government custody and have made their respective affidavits. Due to their standing inside the NBP, they are believed to have vast knowledge on the illegal activities happening inside the national penitentiary specifically the smuggling of contrabands like drugs, mobile phones, liquor, weapons and even prostitutes.

Former Armed Forces chief, now retired Genera. Gregorio Pio B. Catapang, named by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as BuCor officer-in-charge vice Bantag said there are already a total of 13 ‘Persons Deprived of Liberty’ or PDL who are now considered as ‘Persons of Interest’ in the killing of Lapid and Villamor.

Investigators from the Philippine National Police Special Task Force Lapid, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Intelligence Service of the AFP have already taken custody of the accused in line with the ongoing probe into the death of Villamor.

A 2nd autopsy conducted by forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun on the remains of Villamor said he died after being ‘suffocated with a plastic bag.’

Last Wednesday, Catapang said they have confiscated 7,512 canned beers, suspected shabu, cell phones and deadly weapons inside the NBP’s maximum security compound of Bilibid prisons.

The official said a total of 3,270 cans of beer came from members of the Batang City Jail Gang, 2,236 from the Happy Go Lucky Gang and the rest were from Sigue-Sigue Sputnik. At least 31 more cans were confiscated from BuCor personnel, during a follow-up inspection on Oct. 31, he added.

Catapang said the beer in cans are being sold at P1,000 each.

Nearly 160 persons including ranking government and law enforcement officials who were ridiculed and subjected to heavy criticisms by Lapid since 2021 have cropped up as ‘persons of interest’ in the ambush-slay case, PNP chief, General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. earlier said.

Azurin said the around 160 personalities, some of them government, military, police and other law enforcement officials were among the subject of stinging radio commentaries by Lapid since 2021.

He added that the Special Investigation Task Group has reviewed more than 600 radio commentaries by the slain radioman since last year as part of their ongoing investigation.

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