By Norman B. Tamar
MILAGROS, Masbate --- The National Press Club (NPC) has offered a P200,000 reward to anyone who could point to the suspects in the slaying of Joaquin “Jun” Briones, columnist of Remate, a nationally circulated daily tabloid being published in Intramuros, Manila.
Briones, also known in the island-province of Masbate as anchorman of the defunct “Dos por Dos” radio program aired over DYME in the late 90s and early 2000, was gunned down Monday morning by a riding-in-tandem suspect in Barangay Bacolod in his hometown here.
Chief Inspector Leus Anselmo Prima, Milagros chief of police, said they are eyeing local politics and old personal grudges as possible motives for the killing of Joaquin, 54.
The victim’s brother, Diosdado “Dadong” Briones, a mediaman in the province, said NPC officials told him the reward money is aimed at helping resolve the murder of his brother immediately and also at putting a stop to media killings.
“Any informant to the case can call or text 0910 462 1882. NPC officials vowed to keep the identity of the informant confidential,” he said.
A post in NPC’s website Tuesday said that “a kind-hearted donor” who asked to remain anonymous has stepped forward to help solve the murder of Joaquin, an NPC member.
NPC said it is now working closely with the Presidential Task Force on Media Security or PTFoMS to hasten the resolution of Joaquin’s death.
The victim’s eldest brother, Rey, is the publisher and owner of Remate.
Diosdado said his brother Joaquin was the fourth journalist from Masbate who was killed since 2003.
Nelson Nadura was killed on Dec. 2, 2003. Slain on June 12, 2009 was Antonio Castillo and Ariel Lerit on Feb. 28. 2015.
NPC added in its post that Joaquin Briones is the second NPC member to be murdered, after Ms. Ruby Garcia, also from Remate, was gunned down inside her house in Bacoor, Cavite on April 6, 2014.
“Despite these attacks, the NPC shall continue to be the vanguard of press freedom in the country and in seeking justice to all fallen members of the press. On these issues, it will never be cowed,” the NPC said in a statement.
A professional and social organization of print, radio and television journalists that has been in existence since the 1950s, NPC was founded through the initiative of the late newspaperman Teodoro Valencia.