Hero and Martyr?

When news broke that former air transport chief Panfilo Villaruel had been gunned down after violently taking over the NAIA control tower, my first instinct was to search for mention of his name in past publications, since, not having been abreast of the Filipino Who’s-Who all my life, I had never heard of him. The two key search results I spotted were this and this. (Of course, Malaya is completely non-credible, just like the Tribune, both unabashed loyalists to the Marcos/Erap/Cojuangco regimes.)

Today, mainstream Philippine media implicitly praises him as a hero and martyr — with qualification, of course, considering that he did attempt an armed takeover of a busy airport — and “mudslinging” is condemned for this staunchly upright family man and Ramos-administration appointee.

From recent readings of Filipino news, it seems that it is becoming more and more acceptable to accept outbursts such as the Oakwood mutiny and the airport control tower shootout as excusable due to grim desperation and “legitimate grievances.” Did I select faulty information, or am I seeing standard journalistic bias in action, or both?


  1. frankie says:

    What violent take-over? The only violence was that done to Pilo & co. What hostages? He sent everyone out (for their safety). What danger to lives? Approach control would never have handed over approaching flights to that tower, but to the alternate already operating at the time. Pilo was speaking over the radio & and there was no threat of violence or disruption to air traffic at all. In fact, the ungodly hour was deliberately calculated to minimize disruption.

  2. Paulo says:

    Yeah, you’re right, Frankie. I guess someone who goes into the control tower with guns, bombs, and armed men must have only the most peaceful intentions in mind. Hey, I have news for you: this entry is over three weeks old, and isn’t even on the front page of my site — or my mind — anymore. Write the newspapers, not me. Thanks.