Journalist killings, Press Freedom

Editor shot dead; 18th since 2010
POSTED BY || 6 September 2013

CMFR/Philippines—A newspaper editor/publisher was shot dead on Sept. 4, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.

Calapan City, Mindoro is some 133 kilometers from Manila.

Vergel Bico, 41, editor/publisher of Kalahi newspaper, was traversing a road in Barangay (sub-village)  Pachoca on a motorcycle around 4 p.m. when he was shot in the head twice by two unidentified men riding tandem on a motorcycle.

He was rushed to a local hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Calapan City Police Chief Insp. D’Artagnan Katalbas Jr. said in a phone interview with CMFR that the motive might be a personal grudge, although they are still considering the possibility that it is related to his work as a journalist.

Ronald Bula, publisher of Bandera Pilipino where Bico was a columnist, said in a phone interview that Bico last wrote a column in December 2012 and the subjects he usually discussed were those related to illegal gambling.

Bula said Bico told him he had received several threats before from some government officials and other subjects of his columns.

On Sept. 2, radio commentator Fernando “Nanding” Solijon was shot dead in Iligan City. If his killing was work-related, Bico will be the seventh journalist killed in the line of duty in 2013 and the 18th work-related case under the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III.

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Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility