Larry Que
Catanduanes News Now
December 20, 2016, in Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines

Larry Que, publisher of the weekly community newspaper Catanduanes News Now, was shot in the head at close range on December 19, 2016, while entering an office building in Virac, in the northeastern province of Catanduanes, according to news reports.

A gunman wearing a helmet, bonnet, and raincoat escaped on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice, news reports said. Que died early the following day while receiving treatment at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center.

Teresa Reyes, an off-duty police officer who witnessed the crime, said Que was returning from the local Land Transportation Office when he was shot in front of his insurance company's office building, reports said. Que was also the owner of a local insurance company and unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Virac in May, according to media reports.

Que was shot soon after his newspaper published a column he wrote alleging "official negligence" over an illegal methamphetamine laboratory recently raided by police, news reports said. The article also speculated that the illegal plant, which news reports said was the largest discovered in the Philippines, may have been established by Chinese nationals working with ethnic-Chinese residents of the province, reports said.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella condemned the killing and called on authorities to investigate the murder, according to press reports. Agence France-Presse reported on the day of Que's death that national police had no immediate comment on the case.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines called on President Rodrigo Duterte to use a multi-agency task force he created by executive order in October to investigate media killings and ensure the safety of journalists to pursue Que's killers and bring them justice.

Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.

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