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Philippine journalist gunned down

MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine newspaper editor who recently wrote about illegal gambling has been killed, the second journalist slain in the country in a week, police said Thursday.

Vergel Bico was shot twice in the head Wednesday as he was driving his motorcycle in Calapan City in Mindoro Oriental province, said local police chief D’Artagnan Katalbas. The gunman fled on a motorcycle, which was driven by another man.

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Katalbas said a motive was not known but investigators were ‘‘not discounting’’ that the killing was related to Bico’s work as a journalist.

Bico, 41, was an editor for the weekly Kalahi newspaper in Calapan, about 175 miles south of Manila.

Ronald Bula, publisher of the Bandera Pilipino weekly, where Bico worked as a columnist for two years until leaving last October, said Bico recently wrote about illegal gambling in another Mindoro town.

Last week, radio commentator Fernando Solijon was fatally shot by a motorcycle-riding assailant in southern Iligan City.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said Solijon had criticized local politicians on his program and linked a village chief to illegal drugs.

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