Suspect in Masbate journo slay arrested in QC

Jun Briones

MANILA (Bicol Standard) -- The National Press Club (NPC) through its President Rolly ‘Lakay’ Gonzalo has announced the arrest of one of the alleged gunmen in the murder last year of tabloid columnist and NPC member Joaquin ‘Jun’ Briones.

It will be recalled that the Bicolano columnist was shot repeatedly by suspected hired killers along the national highway in Sitio Feeder, Bgy. Bacolod, Milagros, Masbate province on March 13, 2017.

Information reaching the NPC disclosed that suspect Antonio Villaran del Rosario was collared in the vicinity of Tandang Sora Avenue, Quezon City early morning of Thursday, July 12, 2018, by the elements of the Masbate CIDG office under Chief Insp. Vitallano Pagaran, in coordination with the Quezon City Police District.

Del Rosario has been positively identified by one of the witnesses in the murder of Briones. He is presently detained in Quezon City pending his transfer back to Masbate.

The suspect, according to his police profile, is a hardened criminal involved not only in contract killing but also, in robbery/holdup; the suspect also ranks as the ‘number one most wanted person’ in the municipality of Balud, Masbate, Gonzalo added.

A warrant for del Rosario’s arrest for the murder of Briones was issued by the Hon. Arturo Clemente Revil of the Masbate Regional Trial Court on September 6, 2017.

"Even as we continue to fondly remember Jun as an active member of the NPC, we now also express our sense of relief that at long last, the first step in giving justice for his murder has finally begun with the arrest of del Rosario,” Gonzalo added.

Gonzalo also urged the authorities to compel the suspect to reveal those who contracted him to kill Briones.

"Laudable the arrest of del Rosario is, substantive justice also demands that those who paid him money to kill our colleague should also be unmasked, face trial and put behind bars,” Gonzalo said.