MANILA, Oct 21 (Mabuhay) — Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos on Thursday expressed dismay over the reported death of an inmate who allegedly acted as a “middleman” in the plot to kill broadcaster Percival Mabasa also known as “Percy Lapid”.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos (MNS photo)

“Sa totoo lang hinayang na hinayang kami sa nangyaring ito. Sana maunawaan ng lahat na pinaghirapan ito ng kapulisyahan ang kasong ito. Day 1 palang ito nag offer tayo ng reward at halos araw araw talagang pinagpaguran ito ng Task Force Lapid, ng mga kapulisyahan. Talagang binacktrack ito hanggang sa matunton natin itong gunman. (To be honest, we are very saddened by this development. I hope everyone will understand that the police have worked hard on this case. From Day 1, we already offered a reward and almost every day the Task Force Lapid, the police officers, really worked hard. We really traced back until we tracked down this gunman). It has really been a hard work on the part of our PNP,” Abalos told reporters in press briefing on Thursday night at Camp Crame.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Thursday revealed that the alleged middleman, an inmate in the National Bilibid Prison (NBP), died on Oct. 18 inside the national penitentiary’s hospital.

Remulla said the 42-year-old inmate was brought to the NBP hospital where he was pronounced dead.

He said he has yet to know the cause of death, saying the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been tasked to conduct an autopsy.

Abalos said if they found out there is a foul play based on the autopsy report, those responsible should be held accountable.

“Ngayon meron autopsy na ginagawa ngayon at malaman muna namin ang autopsy dahil once talagang merong foul play dito, talagang galit kami, galit na galit kami, and we are demanding kung mangyari man yun ang mananagot ay talagang dapat managot. Yun lang siguro ang masasabi namin sa ngayon (Now there is an autopsy being conducted right now, we have to know first the results of the autopsy and once there is a foul play, we are really angry, we are demanding that the responsible should be held accountable. That’s what we can say for now),” Abalos said.

He said he will be meeting with the Philippine National Police (PNP) officials to discuss this new development on the Mabasa slay case.

Abalos said they would work double time “or even triple time” just to pin down the mastermind with the help of the remaining witnesses.

For his part, Southern Police District (SPD) director, Brig. Gen. Kirby John Kraft, said there were two middlemen who contacted self-confessed gunman, Joel Escorial.

He said one middleman is an inmate detained in NBP and another at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility which is already secured.

Mabasa’s brother, Roy, also expresses sadness over the death of the middleman inmate at NBP.

“Our family was so saddened by this incident. We can’t imagine how this happened in a civilized country like ours,” said Roy, also a journalist.

Roy said his family was “depressed” because they believed the major breakthrough was reached following the identification of the person who ordered Escorial and his cohorts in killing his brother.

“Supposedly, he is going to be vital in the case that we filed…We’re saddened because this will be a big setback in the case,” he said.

Roy said the death of the middleman means that more people are involved in the death of his brother.  (MNS)