Philippine police authorities have filed murder charges against the country’s prisons chief and others for ordering the killing of a prominent radio journalist that sparked international condemnation.The charges were filed on Monday against Bureau of Corrections chief Gerald Bantag, who has been suspended from his post, prisons security official Ricardo Zulueta and other key suspects in the October 3 fatal shooting of Percival Mabasa.
The 63-year-old was killed by two assailants on a motorcycle at the gate of a residential compound in the Las Pinas area of suburban Manila. Mabasa had fiercely criticised Bantag and other officials for alleged corruption and other anomalies.
A joint statement read at a news conference by top justice, interior and police officials said three gang leaders locked up in the country’s largest prison under Bantag’s control were tapped to look for a gunman to kill Mabasa for a 550,000-peso ($9,400) contract.
After the killing, however, the gunman, who was identified by police as Joel Escorial, surrendered in fear after government officials raised a reward for his capture.
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