Man linked to the killing of journalist Joaquin Briones, arrested

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2018 06:35 PM | Updated as of Jul 13 2018 08:41 PM

MANILA—The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Masbate arrested a man in connection with the killing last year of Remate reporter and radio commentator Joaquin Briones in Milagros, Masbate. 

Carrying an arrest warrant for murder issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 44 in Masbate, CIDG operatives arrested Antonio del Rosario alias Ronnie dela Rosario and Panoy in Visayas Avenue, Tandang Sora, Quezon City on Thursday.

Briones had heavily criticized illegal fishing, underground gambling and the illegal drug trade in his radio program and received death threats as a result. 

Authorities said del Rosario is allegedly a member of Sako, a robbery hold-up and gun-for-hire group, and is considered the No. 1 most wanted person at Balud Municipal Police Station in Masbate. 

Del Rosario denied the allegations and said he is willing to face charges in court. 

“Hindi po ma'am kaya nga nagpapasalamat ako kahit papaano ay nahuli nila ako nang maayos para maliwanagan ng korte ang mga binibintang nila sa akin, handa kong harapin 'yun,” he said. 

(No ma'am, that is why I am somewhat thankful that they caught me so the court can be enlightened regarding what they are accusing me. I am ready to face those charges.)

Del Rosario told police they caught the wrong man because he was in Manila when Briones was killed. 

Retired Police Supt. Rechie Duldulao, head of the investigation of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, welcomed the arrest of del Rosario. 

The task force was formed by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 to handle the cases on media killings. 

“Magandang accomplishment kasi malalaman na natin at magkakaroon na ng justice 'yung pagkamatay ni Briones,” Duldulao said. 

(This is a good accomplishment because we will know and we will have justice for the death of Briones.)

The task force is working closely with police to solve media-related killings the soonest time possible. 

“Wala namang mahirap 'pag gagawin at tinatrabaho sa amin ay failure is not an option,” Duldulao said. 

(Nothing is difficult if we will do it and work hard for it. Failure is not an option.)