Philippine police accuse country’s prisons chief of ordering journalist’s murder

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Philippine police accused Monday the country’s prisons chief of ordering the killing of a prominent radio journalist, whose death sparked international alarm.

Radio personality Percival Mabasa, 63, who went by the name “Percy Lapid” in his program, was shot dead in a Manila suburb on October 3 as he drove to his studio.

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Police filed murder complaints against Bureau of Corrections director general Gerald Bantag, who is currently suspended from duty, and his deputy security officer Ricardo Zulueta.

The alleged gunman, Joel Escorial, surrendered to authorities last month out of fear for his safety after police broadcast his face from security footage, officials said previously.

“He [Bantag] will probably be the highest official of this land ever charged with a case of this gravity,” Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla said.

Bantag allegedly ordered the murder of Mabasa following the “continued expose by the latter of the issues against the former on his show,” Eugene Javier of the National Bureau of Investigation told reporters, reading from a statement.

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