I never met Alexis Tioseco, except through email. He said he wanted to interview me for his web site, Criticine, about my short films. I never usually like being interviewed, much less being bombarded with emails, but I enjoyed Alexis' countless emails and follow-ups because I soon realized this was one person who really understood what I wanted to do, and who was also an intelligent writer. He was, I must confess, the first person who was interested more in my ideas than in mundane "chismis" details. And he was perhaps the first critic to ever take my short films seriously.
Recently, filmmaker Lav Diaz blew into town and told me Alexis wanted to ask for a DVD of my short films, because he wanted to organize some kind of "festival" around my work. I thought that was really nice of him, and I told Lav I had to get a new burner as mine's busted. I added that I should have a copy for Alexis before Lav went back to Manila.
Last night, Lav emailed me about the guys who broke into Alexis' home and killed him and his girlfriend.
I really don't know what to say, except that I am sad and shocked and angry. I don't want to be angry at Manila, but I am. I don't want to say I hate Manila because it destroys and throws away the lives of its best people, but I do. I hate to think that people who have some kind of "power" within the city's weird, corrupt system had something to do with it, but I can't help thinking I am right. And I don't want to say that I suspect this is yet another tragedy that will remain unsolved and unresolved, but I think it is.
I never met Alexis, but I feel I have lost a very dear friend.