Three gang commanders at the National Bilibid Prison ordered the killing of broadcaster Percival Mabasa, the sister of an alleged middleman in the hit operation said in an interview with ABS-CBN News before she was place under protective custody of the Department of Justice on Monday.
“Marisa,” who arrived in Manila Saturday, said her brother, Jun Villamor, seemed to fear something would happen to him after the confessed gunman, Joel Escorial, surrendered on October 18.
On the same day that Escorial turned himself in, Marisa said her brother, who had a cellphone inside the NBP, sent her a message at 11:59 in the morning.
“On Oct. 18, he suddenly texted me, ‘Ate, whatever happens to me, take care of this secret. If I die, reveal it. But as long as I am alive, don’t. When I go, tell Joel that it was ordered by 3 commanders here, Sputnik, Happy Go Lucky and BCJ. The order came from the office,'” she told ABS-CBN News in Filipino.
Asked what her brother meant when he texted “from the office,” Marisa said: “There in Bilibid.”
Marisa said her brother, Escorial, and the other alleged middleman, Christopher Bacoto, all knew each other.
“Joel and my brother are from the same barrio. Bacoto is from a neighboring village,” she said.
Bacoto is detained at a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility.
Marisa said she and her other siblings have become fearful for their safety after receiving messages from an anonymous sender.
She said she was also puzzled why her other sibling was barred from seeing Villamor’s body at the morgue and was instead only shown a photograph of his face.
“Someone, a guard or police there said, ‘Be careful.’ They seem to be hiding something,” she said.
Marisa sought help from Sen. Raffy Tulfo and Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo, who in turn brought her to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Monday afternoon, said DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano.
“We immediately secured her and placed her in the Witness Protection Program. We will bring her to a temporary shelter for protection,” Clavano said.
Clavano said Marisa revealed information “relevant to the case.”
“We found that the risk or threat to her life was enough to make her eligible to enter the Witness Protection Program,” Clavano said.
Mabasa’s family has also been receiving death threats, Percival’s brother, Roy, said.
“I have been receiving various death threats from Messenger, text messages,” said Roy, who is also a journalist.
“There are also video calls. Even the nephews, nieces, and children of Percy have received malicious text messages.”
“It seems that our lives will not return to normal until the mastermind is found,” Roy added.