MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 25, 2010) – The Philippine police said it is investigating what went wrong to the bloody end to the hostage-draw in Manila that left 8 Hong Kong nationals dead and several more wounded, two of them seriously.
A former police captain, Rolando Mendoza, who was accused of robbery and extortion, took a tourist bus and held its two dozen passengers, mostly Hong Kong holidaymakers, hostage on Monday morning near the Quirino Grandstand.
He then demanded a government review of all charges against him, saying, he was innocent.
Nine of the Chinese hostages had been freed, but the rest were shot either by Mendoza or police commandos who assaulted the bus. The hostage-taker was eventually killed in the assault later in the night.
Earlier in the night, policemen arrested a brother of the hostage-taker, Gregorio Mendoza, after he was accused of instigating and agitating, instead of convincing the armed man to surrender peacefully, according to Director Leocadio Santiago, chief of police forces in the National Capital Region.
The arrest of Mendoza’s elder brother may have prompted him to shoot the hostages. Mendoza’s brother told reporters that policemen would kill him after accusing him of conspiring with the hostage-taker, an accusation he vehemently denied.
Moments after the arrest of the hostage-taker’s brother, several shots rang inside the bus. Mendoza’s brother and wife were in the area to convince him to surrender peacefully.
“The outcome of the hostage taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand is indeed very unfortunate that should warrant a thorough investigation. It saddened me deeply that lives were lost in the process. Indeed no words can assuage the trauma and grief that the victims and their families are now experiencing.”
“We will continue to work closely with other government agencies to make sure the victims and their families get the necessary services that they need while still in our country,” said Jesus Verzosa, the police chief.
“In the meantime, we will hold passing any judgment on what went wrong or what went right until we receive the final report from a team of experts who will look into all circumstances surrounding the hostage taking incident,” he added.
Media reports on Wednesday said several commandos who participated in the bungled assault had been suspended pending the outcome of the investigations. (Mindanao Examiner)