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Gun-for-hire son, father slain by cops in shootout

By Mar S. Arguelles LEGAZPI CITY --- A leader of a gun for hire group including his father were killed by police operatives in a shootout on Friday last week in Barangay San Pablo, Mandaon town in Masbate, report reaching the Philippine National Police (PNP)in Bicol said yesterday. Leonardo del Rosario, alias Padoy, the leader of the Del Rosario gang or popularly known as Sako (Sacks) gang, together with father Norberto, resisted arrest and engaged the police in a shootout, Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, PNP Bicol regional director said. The incident took place at around 4:15 p.m. Friday at Crossing Villa Alvarez, Barangay San Pablo while police operatives were conducting an operation against criminal gangs under Oplan Pagtugis. Salikop and Omega, Buenafe said. The encounter resulted in the instant death of the gang leader who was armed with a 45. Caliber handgun while his father was fatally wounded and died while being treated in a hospital in Mandaon. Buenafe in a phone interview said policemen at a roundup operation were able to arrest other gang members identified as RV Marino, Roger, and Romeo, all surnamed del Rosario. The gang leader is facing a string of criminal cases involving murder, homicide, carnapping, holdup and robbery. Leonardo was the principal suspect in the killing in March this year of Joaquin Briones, also known as “Dos,” a former radio commentator and a columnist of Manila-based tabloid Remate. Briones was known for his hard-hitting blocktime radio program “Dos por Dos” over local radio station DYME in Masbate City. Briones entered politics in 2010 and 2013 when he ran for councilor in Milagros town but lost in both bids. Police records indicate that the gang leader who led over 20 members was also implicated in the ambush killing of father and son Samson and Jerimiah Suplito in 2015. He was also the suspect in the killing and beheading of Flor Rapsing. The Sako gang is a Private Armed Group (PAGs) operating in Masbate. They are being hired by political leaders to intimidate their rivals.

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