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Filcom leader dies after being hit by car

11 March 2018

Larry Sevilla at a Filcom event
(from his Facebook page)

By Daisy CL Mandap

Many Filipinos in Hong Kong have taken to social media to express shock at the sudden death yesterday (Mar 10) of Larry Sevilla, a resident and founder of 1Ganap Guardians and vice chairman of Duterte Alliance Hong Kong.

Sevilla, 51, succumbed to severe head injuries sustained after being hit by a car near Times Square in Causeway Bay on Friday night. He is survived by his wife Michelle and their two young daughters, plus a teenaged daughter from a previous relationship.

According to the police, Sevilla was “reportedly knocked down” by a Tesla car that was coming out of Canal Road East corner Russel Street in Wanchai at 8:34pm on Mar. 9. He was rushed to Queen Mary Hospital unconscious, and was declared dead at about noon the next day.

The 74-year-old driver surnamed Lo was reportedly arrested and charged with “dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm”. With Sevilla’s death, the charge would likely be changed to
dangerous driving causing death. The police said they will provide an updated report on the case tomorrow, Mar. 12.

Also injured in the accident was a passenger in Lo’s car, a 71-year-old woman surnamed Lee, who was taken to Ruttonjee Hospital in Wanchai “in a conscious state”, said the police.

The wrecked Tesla and paramedics about to take
Sevilla to the hospital (photo by Dulce Abatay)
A report in the Chinese newspaper, Apple Daily, quoted a bystander as saying that the driver had apparently hit on the gas pedal instead of the brakes when he saw Sevilla in front of him as he got out of the carpark. As a result, the car accelerated forward, running over Sevilla, before stopping when it hit the concrete pavement of the Canal Road flyover on the opposite side of the road.

Sevilla's friends said he was walking on his way home with clothes he had just picked up from the laundry. 

According to Danny Baldon, officer of the assistance to nationals section of the Consulate, Sevilla’s remains are still at Queen Mary Hospital’s mortuary, where they are scheduled to be identified formally to the police by his widow early this week.

Several people have called out to members of the Filipino community for financial help for Sevilla’s family so his body could be repatriated back to the Philippines. 

Among them is Marvin Cometa, chair of DAHK who said he will hold a fundraising event for Sevilla on Mar. 25, either at his pub, The Port, or at the back of the General Post Office building in Central where his group often holds outdoor shows.

Cometa said many community leaders want to extend help, knowing how difficult it must be for Sevilla’s young family to cope with his passing.

The call was echoed by Jennifer Gafate, who is also an officer of DAHK and a close friend of the Sevillas. Gafate visited Michelle Sevilla at the hospital to condole with her and offer help. She said she was just in the Sevillas’ home in Causeway Bay a few days ago to discuss some projects she and the deceased had been planning together.

Sevilla worked for Bolaven Hong Kong, a coffee farm with a cafe in Wanchai. But he was widely known in the community as a staff member of Metrobank, where he worked for several years.

Sevilla listed his hometown on his Facebook page as Del Gallego, Camarines Sur. Gafate said that’s where his remains will likely be repatriated.

Many of Sevilla’s friends remember him as being soft spoken and kind, and a devoted father.

Metrobank's Merlinda Mercado, who is godmother to one of Sevilla's kids, said she and her husband were heartbroken when they say the deceased in hospital. She said the doctors had told them he did not have much time to live as he was already on life support. He died shortly after they arrived.

Mercado was the first to announce his death on Facebook. "May your soul rest in peace, Pare Doc Larry", she posted. 

Mercado said many of Sevilla's former colleagues in Metrobank, including a former senior officer, are helping raise money for his family. 
Larry with wife Michelle

Another Filcom leader, Gemma Lauraya of the National Organization of Professional Teachers - Hong Kong, thanked Sevilla for readily volunteering as “proctor” during licensure examinations held here.

In Manila, former Consul Charles Macaspac also sent a message, asking if the news about Sevilla’s death was true. Told that it was, he said: “That’s too bad. He was a big help in organizing the Independence Day celebrations and the annual Concert in the Park.”

Former Consul General and now Ambassador to Vietnam Noel Servigon, said in Facebook message: “Condolences to the family. I remember Larry as an active community leader.”

Cometa, who was also quick to announce Sevilla's passing: “We were deeply shocked and saddened to hear the death of our vice chairman Mr. Larry Sevilla…He and his team were one of the most sincere and most active volunteers during the campaign period who supported PRRD”.

He said he would be announcing details about Sevilla’s wake as soon as he gets more information.

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