A HIGH-RANKING Malacañang official assured the family of slain radio journalist Percival Mabasa that President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s administration is ready to provide assistance and is closely monitoring the case.
“We are ready to help. The President wants to send that message,” Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin said at the wake of Mr. Mabasa in Parañaque City, based on a video posted by the state-run People’s Television Network. He was accompanied by Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Dominic B. Guevara.
Under the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, “everything will be done to get to the bottom of the crime,” he assured the Mabasa family.
Mr. Mabasa, also known as Percy Lapid, was a fierce critic of the administration of Mr. Marcos and that of his predecessor Rodrigo R. Duterte. He was gunned down by two assailants at the gate of a residential compound in Las Piñas, a city in the capital region, on Monday night.
He is the second journalist to have been killed under the Marcos administration, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
Mr. Marcos, meanwhile, vowed to “support and protect the rights of the media,” acknowledging its role in nation building.
“Under my lead, we will support and protect the rights of the media as they efficiently perform their duty,” he said in a speech Wednesday night at an event organized by the Manila Overseas Press Club.
“Whatever difficulties we may encounter from this point on, the government will always be ready to lend an ear and to listen to your concerns and to answer all that you may want to know,” he added.
1ST 100 DAYSACT-Teachers Party-list Rep. France L. Castro, a member of the minority in the House of Representatives dominated by Marcos allies, said the continued harassment and killing of administration critics is one of the indicators of Mr. Marcos’ failure to fulfill his campaign promises during his first 100 days in office.
“He made a lot of promises but hasn’t fulfilled any of them, one of these being the increase of salaries for teachers,” Ms. Castro said.
“It does not matter if you are an opposition official, media, activist or an ordinary person wanting the government to hear your redress, you will either be red tagged, jailed on trumped up charges or worst, killed like the case of radio commentator Percy Mabasa,” she added.
Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, a part of the House opposition, on Thursday said the recent resignations of Cabinet members so early in the six-year term signals that Mr. Marcos should focus more on the screening process.
“I think the President has to focus on the vetting process and get the truly qualified people to serve his official family. It is not paying political debts, it’s not giving a premium to partisan credentials,” he said in an interview with One News PH’s Agenda.
On the other hand, House Speaker Martin G. Romualdez, who represents Leyte and is a cousin of the President, said the country’s chief executive has “done a great job… in his first 100 days in office, setting the pace of leadership that will usher the country into economic recovery.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Matthew Carl L. Montecillo