LEGAZPI CITY: Former hard-hitting radio commentator and Remate columnist Joaquin Briones Jr. was killed Monday morning in Masbate by motorcycle-riding assassins, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
Briones, 53, a resident of Barangay Bacolod in Milagros town, was gunned down by two men at Bombon Bridge on Sitio Feeder Road in the same barangay or village, Police Chief Insp. Malu Calubaquib said.
“The victim was on board his Honda XR 150 motorcycle traversing towards their house…upon reaching Bombon Bridge…the assailants shot the victim from behind hitting different parts of his body that resulted [in]his instantaneous death,” Calubaquib said.
The victim bore four gunshot wounds on his back.
The two suspects rode a red XRM 125 motorcycle without a plate number, she said.
Briones was a hard-hitting radio commentator who ran for vice mayor in Milagros. Also known as “Dos por Dos,” he became a columnist of Remate, a national tabloid newspaper.
In a statement, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security said it was investigating Briones’ killing.
“As with all cases involving journalists who are threatened, harmed or killed, we are presuming Jun’s case is work-related. We have directed the formation of a special investigation task group through the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management,” said Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, task force executive director.
He revealed that in February, Briones expressed intention to join the task force, which is chaired by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd.
Egco, former president of the National Press Club of the Philippines, said he counted the victim among his close friends. He said he was informed by the victim’s brother that the killing could have been politically motivated, but under Administrative Order 1 that formed the task force, Briones’ case would have to be presumed as work-related and therefore the subject of a special investigation.
The task force counts Briones’ killing as the 18th case to be acted upon by the task force since October 2016.
These cases include those of journalists who received death threats and those who were physically assaulted while performing their work.
Only the case of Catanduanes publisher Larry Que has been verified as work-related and has been included in the tally of media killings. Que’s case is the first recorded media worker killing under the Duterte administration, the task force said.
WITH A REPORT FROM RHAYDZ B. BARCIA