PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has expressed concern over the killing of radio broadcaster and columnist Percival Mabasa (also known as Percy Lapid), Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Guevara said on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.

Guevarra said he was instructed to meet with investigators to ensure the ongoing probe and will ask them to submit a report within the next seven days.

“The Office of the President, particularly PBBM (Marcos), is concerned of what happened to Percy Lapid,” he said in an interview with reporters.

“In fact, we have been instructed to take a look at the conduct of the investigation on the ambush of him last night,” he added.

The 63-year-old Lapid, host of the online broadcast program “Percy Lapid Fire” at dwBL 1242 and a columnist of tabloid newspaper Hataw, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman while on board his vehicle on Monday evening, October 3, in Barangay Talon Dos, Las Piñas City.

Lapid has been critical to the Duterte administration and some personalities, including the policies of Marcos.

He also tackled on his program some controversial issues, such as the ruling of Manila Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, who ruled against tagging the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as a terrorist group.

He had also commented on the security risks of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators and on historical distortion of Martial Law.

The Philippine National Police Southern Police District has already formed a Special Investigation Task Force to focus on the investigation on Lapid’s killing.

It said investigators are trying to determine the motive for the attack.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said he also instructed the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the incident.

Media watchdogs condemned Lapid’s killing, saying the attack underscores how deadly the Philippines remains for journalists.

“That the incident took place in Metro Manila indicates how brazen the perpetrators were and how authorities have failed to protect journalists as well as ordinary citizens from harm,” the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said in a statement.

Amnesty International said the attack “bears all the hallmarks of an extrajudicial execution and an attempt to silence voices critical of the government.”

The victim's family condemned the “brutal and brazen killing” and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

Lapid is the second journalist killed under Marcos Jr., who took office in June.

Radio broadcaster Rey Blanco was stabbed to death during an altercation last month in central Negros Oriental province. The suspect immediately surrendered to police.

Nearly 200 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986, when Marcos Sr. was overthrown, according to the journalists' union. The group led a protest Tuesday night, October 4, and called on the government to do more to stop the killing of journalists.

In 2009, members of a powerful political clan and their men killed 58 people, including 32 media workers, in an execution-style attack in southern Maguindanao province that horrified the world.

The mass killing, linked to a political rivalry, demonstrated the dangers journalists face in the Philippines, which has many unlicensed guns, private armies controlled by powerful clans and weak law enforcement, especially in rural regions. (With AP/SunStar Philippines)