An Anarchist Farewell for Percy Lapid
Percival Mabasa, known popularly as Percy Lapid is among the first media workers to be killed under the Marcos II administration.
He was shot in the dead of night on his way home. The gunman is still at large. He was a known critic of the Marcos and Duterte Axis of Evil and their circle of sycophants and berdugos.
It is unfortunate that I was not able to listen to his show Lapid Fire when he was still alive. However, I am fortunate that he archives his radio show on his YouTube channel. Watching his videos brings me back to the era of AM and FM, where firebrand radio personalities would not hesitate to throw expletives around to air their discontentment with the prevailing ills of society on air itself. His favorite targets in recent months were recently-resigned Press Secretary Trixie Angeles-Cruz and red-tagger-in-chief Lorraine Badoy Partosa, both of whom notorious for peddling misinformation on a national scale.
On his broadcast on the fiftieth anniversary of Martial Law, he recounted his experiences during the mid-1970s. While formerly expressing support of the Marcos legacy earlier in his radio career, the retrospect given him by resources and narratives available in the modern day changed his mind. He said the 1973 Constitution was only as useful as a means for the elder Marcos to maintain his position. He also repudiated the claim that the disorder that supposedly justified Martial Law came from the progressive movement of the time. In no uncertain terms the broadcaster declared that “ang totoong magulo no’n, yung mga pulitiko, yung mga anak ng mga pulitiko,” an unfortunate reality in the dynasty-driven drivel that is Philippine politics to this day. Ironic given the station he broadcasts from has the call-sign of “Bagong Lipunan.”
Two motorcycles and one person of interest are now being investigated by state forces for this killing. Likely, it will take some time before anything that can be considered a lead will fall into the laps of the PNP and DILG. Meanwhile, the violence against journalists, anchors, radio hosts, and other truth seekers will continue to escalate. Politicians can’t help but suggest journalists arm themselves because the only solution they can think of to counter violence is violence itself. Either that, or they are among those who wish to eliminate journalists in the first place. Nevertheless, it still remains an unfortunately necessary option, especially those who operate in areas where the military inflame conflict such as in Mindanao.
Percy Lapid is not an anarchist nor an abolitionist. I might even venture to say that he is not the most progressive personality on the radio. However, I do not wish to speculate on the private political beliefs of a man that passed away. I say that, and have written this whole piece, as a reflection of what is at stake here today for journalists of all stripes. It is no longer just the freedom to information and expression that is under attack. It is the right to live.
Those who perpetrate those killings believe that reporting the truth and exercising dissent is only worth the price of a gun-for-hire in Las Piñas. Meanwhile, those who continue to harass alternative news outlets and established media firms alike cry rivers when biased reporting does not carry their own bias: to red-tag, to disinform, and delegitimize actual narratives of hardships facing everyday inhabitants of the archipelago.
It is comforting to know that no matter the situation, there will still be a journalism that will continue to disseminate information that will disturb the comfortable positions of those within the elite status quo. If history has not taught us that, then the present and future will. However, that does not mean we should remain complacent. We should remain vigilant to threats that face us and our friends across media platforms and society as a whole. At the same time, we should maintain our ranks and networks so that we can show strength in the face of this injury inflicted upon us all, on the path towards building a society where the truth is among its vital pillars.
Rest in Peace, Ka Percy Lapid.