Former president Rodrigo Duterte has no reason to have broadcast journalist Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa killed, Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said on Tuesday, November 8.
Dela Rosa, an ally of the former Duterte administration, said he finds it illogical that the former leader would have any motive of having Lapid killed since he is already a private citizen.
The family of the slain broadcaster has said they wanted to make sure that there are no more personalities “higher” than former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director general Gerald Bantag, who was tagged as one of the masterminds in the killing of Lapid and Cristito Palaña, an inmate inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), who could be behind the murder.
But as far as he is concerned, the former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief said he sees no motive on the part of the former president to kill Lapid even if he was also a target of the veteran journalist’s scathing and fiery commentaries.
“Bakit pa niya papatayin? Nag-retire ka na, hindi ka na presidente, bakit hindi mo pinatay nung ikaw ay presidente pa (Why would he kill him? You have already retired, you’re no longer a president, so why didn’t you have him killed while you were still president?),” Dela Rosa elaborated during a press briefing at the Senate.
“Ngayon pa? Na wala ka na sa poder? Saka ka pa nag ka interes sa tao (Now that you are no longer in power, you suddenly have an interest on killing the man)?” he asked.
“So the motive is malayo (So the motive is vague),” he pointed out.
“Pabayaan natin ang nag-iimbestiga. Mahirap kasi marami nagmamarunong, marami nagkukunwari na may alam, gusto isaksak sa imbestigasyon. Hanggang daldal lang naman. Mag conduct kayo ng imbestigasyon kung gusto niyo, pero respetuhin nyo ang PNP at NBI investigation (Let's leave it to those who are doing the investigation. It's difficult because there are many people pretend to know, want some people to be included in the investigation. It's just chatter. Conduct an investigation if you want, but respect the PNP and NBI’s investigation),” the senator added.
Dela Rosa further said the PNP should not be dictated on how they should go about their own probe.
But the PNP can still pursue their investigation if they believe there are other personalities beyond Bantag who may be involved in the double murder case, he said.
“In fairness naman, if that is the outcome of the (PNP) investigation, we have to respect it,” he said.
“Nagulat ako talaga. Paanong hindi ka magulat kung ganun ang findings ng PNP, nakakagulat talaga. Nagulat ako na sya ang itinalaga na director ng BuCor, di ko siya (Bantag) kilala...wala kaming personal na relationship or whatever (I was really surprised. How can you not be surprised if the findings of the PNP are like that? It's really surprising. I was surprised that he was the appointed director of BuCor, I don't know him (Bantag)...we don't have a personal relationship or whatever),” the lawmaker added.