manila – gunman The man who murdered a veteran radio operator in the Philippines He surrendered to the authorities, admitting to being part of the hired gun team ordered to kill Percival Mabatha.
Mabatha was known for his outspoken criticism of former President Rodrigo Duterte and was also critical of the policies and officials currently serving under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. He was murdered by several gunmen in front of his gated community in the city of Las Pinas on October 4.
Joel Estorial, 39, was introduced to the media on Tuesday, the day after he turned himself in, by Interior and Local Government Commissioner Ben-Hur Avalos and police, police said. Mabatha later told reporters that authorities contacted him about surrendering on Friday.
Estorial alleged that someone at New Bilibid Prison, the country’s highest security prison in the city of Muntinlupa, ordered him and four others to kill Mr. Mabasa. It is currently unknown whether this individual was a civilian or a prisoner.
Authorities have identified at least three suspects, brothers Edmond and Israel DiMcClangan, and a person known as “Orly.”
According to Estorial, their hired gun group received a total of 550,000 pesos (S$13,000) for killing Mr. Mabasa, of which 140,000 pesos was deposited directly into his bank account.
Estorial said he surrendered out of guilt and fear after authorities extracted his photo from enhanced CCTV footage and released it to the public. He asked for forgiveness from Mavasa’s family.
“I was told that the person closest to Percy would shoot him. “I’m really sorry. I didn’t want to do it.”
Roy Mavasa, Mr. Mavasa’s brother, suspects Estorial is really the shooter because he doesn’t look like a suspect caught on CCTV. He hopes the police will allow him to question Estorial.
“I hope the police will look into this further … arresting the wrong gunman doesn’t lead to the actual mastermind,” he said.
Known locally as Percy Rapid, the bounty for Mr. Mabatha’s killer has already reached P6.5 million.
Mabatha’s death was widely condemned and refocused attention on the safety of reporters in the Philippines, considered one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) welcomed Estorial’s surrender and hopes it will eventually lead to the arrest of the ringleaders.
“Accountability in this case helps to piece together the culture of impunity around the killing of journalists that the media, civil society and government agencies have sought to change,” NUJP said.
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