She wants changes in the Manila International Airport Authority contracts with concessionaires. But she was killed by those who will be affectged by any change.
And whay are killers so callous and cold? Maybe because they have friends in high places that will protect them, maybe because killing pays good money, maybe because killers know that the Pinoy loses interest faxt and will forget about the whole thing soon, maybe because killing reformists will stop others from being one and graft and corruption will continue to prosper.
Top airport official
killed in ambush
Posted: 3:40 AM (Manila Time) | Sept. 10, 2003
By Alcuin Papa, Christian V. Esguerra and Jerome Aning
Inquirer News Service
Crusader for reform
A DARING AMBUSH on a ranking official of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) supposedly motivated by her crusade for reforms resulted in her death Tuesday morning.
A lone shot was fired at Lilia Diaz, 47, MIAA assistant general manager for finance and administration, as she was being driven to work, said Parañaque City police chief Ronald Estilles.
The bullet entered Diaz's right shoulder and pierced her heart, Estilles said.
He said Diaz's driver Edwin Defeo rushed her to the Olivarez General Hospital in Parañaque, where she was declared dead on arrival.
"We strongly believe this is the job of professionals because it took the gunman only one shot," Estilles said.
MIAA general manager Edgardo Manda said he could not think of any reason for the ambush other than Diaz's support for reforms. "It was a cowardly act," he said in a phone interview. "Our drive for reforms started last year. Apparently, we stepped on a lot of toes."
Manda said Diaz, who was on a committee reviewing the contracts of concessionaires at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, was receiving death threats as early as three months ago.
He said Diaz was "working diligently to root out corruption and maximize productivity."
Manda also said Diaz had told him the names of the people who would have wanted her dead, and that he submitted these names to the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation after the ambush.
Her spokesperson said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered "a thorough investigation of this assassination, to the end that the perpetrator of this dastardly act would be brought to justice as soon as possible."
Shocked and grieving airport officials and employees attended a Mass held in Diaz's memory Tuesday afternoon at the MIAA headquarters. They said Diaz was busy helping run airport operations Monday while Manda was attending a hearing at the Senate on the Jose Pidal controversy involving the President's husband.
Estilles said the ambush occurred at around 9:05 a.m. at the corner of Venus Street and E. Rodriguez Avenue in Parañaque.
He said the gunman waited for a white Mitsubishi Exceed van (with license plate XAY-781) driven by Defeo, 29, to slow down as it was approaching a speed hump in front of the Brickstone Subdivision-Phase 3 in the Moonwalk area before walking from a nearby convenience store for the hit.
Estilles said the gunman walked to the front of the vehicle and then to where Diaz was seated at the back, and fired through the passenger window, hitting her with precision.
The gunman escaped toward the direction of Better Living Subdivision on board a motorcycle driven by another man, Estilles said.
He quoted witnesses as saying that the gunman was around five fee and five inches tall, of slim build, and late 20s in age.
Members of the Scene of the Crime Operations found a spent shell of a .45 caliber pistol, he said.
Manda said both he and Diaz had been receiving death threats because of their efforts to curb irregularities at the airport. He said he had asked for additional police security as a result of Diaz's murder.
He also said certain sectors had been convincing the two of them to take part in "efforts to destabilize the government." He declined to elaborate other than saying that the killing of Diaz, which followed the recent shooting of customs district collectors in Manila and Cebu City, could also be part of destabilization efforts.
"We were just doing our jobs to make the MIAA more efficient and to give it more savings," Manda said.
He said the reforms included studying which services the MIAA could accomplish on its own to eliminate the need for outsourcing, and tightening the screening process for airport security agencies.
He added that the MIAA had also been trying to curb human smuggling.
Manda said Diaz's murder would not get in the way of more reforms at the airport. He said efforts would be further intensified "to rid the MIAA of undesirables."
He also said the "entire resources" of the MIAA would be employed to bring about the "swift and decisive capture" of Diaz's murderers.
"If the killers of Ms Diaz think that I and the entire MIAA will be cowed by her diabolic assassination, they have just made the biggest mistake of their murderous careers," he said.
Manda was all praise for Diaz, who worked with the MIAA for 17 years. He described her as having brought a "a new culture" to the airport, "very hardworking," and one of his "most trusted assistants."