LUIS V. TEODORO, a veteran journalist who championed press freedom in the Philippines, has died. He was 81.
Mr. Teodoro died of a heart attack shortly before midnight on Monday, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), where he was a Board of Trustee member, posted on its website.
“As educator, editor, and journalist, Dean Teodoro was pivotal in fostering academic excellence in our discipline, upholding integrity in the practice of media and defending our freedoms of the press, speech, and assembly,” the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP-CMC), where he taught journalism and was dean from 1994 to 2000, posted on its Facebook page.
Mr. Teodoro was also a fictionist and wrote opinion pieces for several broadsheets including BusinessWorld, where his last “Vantage Point” column was published on March 9 after being one of its columnists since 2007.
“‘Language,’ it is said in absurdist plays, ‘is often dislocated, full of clichés, puns, repetitions, and non sequiturs,’” according to the introduction of his 2014 book Vantage Point: The Sixth Estate and Other Discoveries. “And we find ourselves overwhelmed by the poisonous words that filter out of the turret, drifting down like some mantra of state functionaries to help us imagine an impossible future.”
“Teodoro knows the irony too well: with the clinical eye of an academic, he marshals data and historical contexts to pin down the powerholders, sparing no one — much unlike other ‘pundits’ who dribble words for their patrons’ pleasure. He sees through the charade of duplicitous sovereigns,” it added.
The UP-CMC said it would hold a service in Mr. Teodoro’s honor on March 15.
Mr. Teodoro was a political prisoner in the early years of martial law under the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
He was chairman of the Board of Editors of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).
In the 1970s, he worked as editor of the alternative news agency Philippine News and Features, according to CMFR. After 1986, he wrote for and edited publications including the National Midweek magazine and the daily broadsheet Today.
He authored several books on mass media ethics, journalism and press freedom, and received the 2015 National Book Award for Journalism for his book Vantage Point and Mass Media Laws and Regulations in the Philippines, which he co-wrote.
Mr. Teodoro headed the Commission on Higher Education’s Technical Committee of Journalism Education, and was one of the honorees at The Many Faces of the Teacher 2007, where his excellence in teaching was recognized, according to the website of Arellano High School, where he studied.
After graduating from UP with a Bachelor of Arts in English (Journalism and Creative Writing), he attended the Master of Arts Program in Comparative Literature and Asian Studies there.
He was a senior fellow at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in New Delhi, and a research fellow at the Communication Institute, East-West Center in Honolulu, it said.
“A pillar of Philippine journalism, Teodoro’s combined careers as an academic and journalist is unparalleled,” CMFR said.
“His place as an esteemed colleague and friend is unique. CMFR will forever uphold his contribution to the work of building a free and independent press and its role in Philippine democracy.” — Norman P. Aquino