Painter Gene de Loyola shot dead in Rizal
MANILA, Philippines – He died in the very town he served and painted.
On Wednesday, April 18, in Rodriguez town, Rizal, painter Gene de Loyola and his friend Gregorio Alarde were shot dead by unidentified assailants at around 7:50 pm just outside the headquarters of the neighborhood homeowners' association.
According to the police report, suspects hurriedly left after discharging their bullets, while police came only two hours later at 10 pm. Cops do not know in what direction the suspects fled or how the suspects came and went.
Cops put the entire town on checkpoint lockdown to track the shooters, but the measure came too late. Police now believe the killers have already fled to another town.
Who is Gene de Loyola? Gene de Loyola is a Naga-born artist known for his smooth landscapes usually depicting scenes from the Philippine countryside. In his younger years, he was among the artists who depicted the violence of the Marcos dictatorship.
His community engagement goes beyond the dark Martial Law era, as he also worked as a community organizer.
According to the police, he was supposedly involved in a dispute with land owners in Rodriguez in the lead-up to his death.The characters and details of the quarrel are currently being investigated by police.
Before De Loyola was killed, his son-in-law Mideo Cruz told Rappler, he executed an "on the spot painting" of the community he was fighting for.
Activist-artist group Let's Organize for Democracy and Integrity condemned the killing of De Loyola, calling it "proof of impunity over paid killers, corporations who grab everything from the small and weak."
"Hanggang sa huli, paglaban ang mensahe ng kanyang obra. Ipininta niya ang gandang nais wasakin ng makikitid na interes (Up to the end, fighting is the message of his work. He painted the beauty that myopic interests seek to destroy)," the statement of the group said. – Rappler.com