Friends and family have paid tribute to Australian Reginald Rene Hodgens, who was shot dead in Ilocos Sur this week.
Police are continuing to hunt for the killers of the 70-year-old surfing enthusiast, who was shot in the head outside his rented house on Monday (October 15).
Senior Inspector Edmund Artates, who is leading the investigation, said Mr Hodgens had until recently been living in the town of Cabugao but had moved to Sinait after “filing a case against a Filipino”.
“Perhaps, the motive, with revenge, is based on the documents we have detected, there is a case in Cabugao,” he said. No further details about this legal case have yet emerged.
Since publishing an account of the murder on Tuesday, several of his friends have contacted PLN to offer their condolences.
Among them was Mark Jackson, who wrote: “I have known him for 15 years, since moving to Taiwan in 2003. Rene used to work as an English teacher here (Taiwan) and loved surfing. He spoke a lot about Sabang and the great surfing there.
“Condolences to his family. I hope justice prevails and the killers are caught.”
Another reader, Robert Farnan, also knew Mr Hodgens from his time in Taiwan. He wrote: “I am horrified at this news. I also knew Mr Hodgens from 2004 after moving to Taiwan to teach English. He was no angel, but a good guy who would try to do the right thing. He had a strong sense of right and wrong, and gentleman’s understanding of justice.
“We shared many memories over the years, and together with mutual friends had created quite a family atmosphere amongst the expat community.”
PLN was also contacted by Mr Hodgen’s brother, 66-year-old Ronald, who said the family was still waiting for answers about the killing.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, he described how his brother had spent the majority of his life living outside Australia, including about 16 years in Taiwan and the last few years in the Philippines.
He said: “Reggie liked the lifestyle in Asia. He spoke a number of languages and had a good understanding of a number of countries. Reggie knew what he was doing up there.”
Locals who apparently knew and liked Mr Hodgens have paid tribute to him on the Facebook page TV Patrol North Luzon.
“Rest in peace Rene,” Bryan Corner wrote.
“Poor Sir Rene. We will miss u,” was the message left by Claudette Ann Tindoc Vite.
Mr Hodgens was single at the time of his death, and had no children. He worked as a building supervisor in Australia and taught English while living in Asia.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that it is providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian man who has died in the Philippines.
However, in line with the department’s usual policy, she could not confirm that Ronald Rene Hodgens was the man in question.
Consular assistance can include repatriating the body back to Australia and liaising with local authorities.
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