MANILA -- The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) has commended the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for the arrest of another suspect in the killing last year of journalist Joaquin Briones.

“What a nice way to start another busy day. Kudos to the operating troops of the PNP CIDG,” Executive Director and Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco said in a Facebook post Friday.

Last Thursday, Antonio Villarin Del Rosario, alias Ronnie ‘Panoy’ Del Rosario, was arrested by combined elements of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD)-CIDG-District Special Operation Unit headed by Supt. Richard Verceles.

Upon learning of Del Rosario’s arrest, Egco immediately dispatched PTFoMS Head of Investigation Ret. Supt. Rechie Duldulao and Special Agents Darwin Alfonso and Lawrence Binuya to verify the report in Camp Crame.

Del Rosario was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued on Sept. 7 last year by Regional Trial Court Branch 44-Masbate City acting presiding judge Arturo Clemente Revil.

He was the fourth suspect to be arrested in the killing of Briones, a personal friend of Egco, who himself, was a former media practitioner.

The first three arrested suspects include Arvie Del Rosario, Romeo Del Rosario and Roger Paglinawan.

On the other hand, PTFoMS said Panoy’s alleged cohorts Leonardo Del Rosario a.k.a. “Padoy”, Norberto Del Rosario and Junie Almado, all members of Del Rosario Criminal Group or the so-called Sako Gang, were killed in the previous armed encounter with police operatives.

Briones, a hard-hitting radio commentator, was shot dead by men riding in tandem while he was driving his motorcycle in Barangay Bacolod, Milagros in Masbate on May 13, 2017.

Initial police reports cited either local politics or personal grudges as possible motives behind Briones’ murder since he ran but lost for councilor of Milagros town in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

“It is expected that with the arrest of Del Rosario, the real motive behind this brutal murder will be revealed soon and the mastermind be brought to justice,” Egco said.

He said PTFoMS will continue to be on top of the situation and regularly update the public on the status of this case. (PNA)