Vergel Bico

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Bico, 41, an editor for the regional weekly tabloid newspaper Kalahi, was shot twice in the head while riding his motorcycle at around 4 p.m. in Calapan City in Mindoro Oriental province, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Manila, according to The Associated Press. Police Chief D'Artagnan Katalbas told the AP that the gunman fled on a motorcycle driven by another man. Bico was taken to a local hospital, but was pronounced dead.

According to an initial report from the Calapan police, the gunman was wearing a gray T-shirt and the driver was in a black jacket, the Philippines Inquirer said.

Bico had recently written about illegal gambling in another Mindoro town, according to Ronald Bula, publisher of the Bandera Pilipino weekly, where Bico had worked as a columnist for two years until October 2012.

Katalbas said no motive had been established, but that investigators were "not discounting" whether the killing was related to Bico's work as a journalist. Katalbas told the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility that the motive might be a personal grudge. A task force under Senior Supt. Rolando de Jesus, director of Oriental Mindoro Police Office, was investigating both personal and work-related motives, the Inquirer reported.

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