House to conduct own probe on hostage-taking incident

August 28, 2010 11:31 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Aug. 28 — The House of Representatives has decided to conduct a separate investigation on the 11-hour hostage-taking incident last Monday, which resulted in the killing of eight foreign hostages and the hostage-taker himself.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, author of House Resolution no. 277, has asked the concerned House committees to investigate and evaluate the incident.

"It is an unfortunate incident that cost the lives of the Chinese tourists precisely because the stand-off lasted for possibly an unreasonable length of time without skilled and careful planning on how to make the assault without endangering the lives of the hostages and the hostage taker as well," said Castelo.

"The manner the crisis has been handled reflects utter lack of skill of supposed-to-be trained police authorities to contain or neutralize life threatening incidents that put the lives of hostages on the line and at grave danger not just in the hands of the hostage taker but even more in the hands of the SWAT assault team," he said.

Bacolod Rep. Anthony Rolando Golez Jr. also said there was an urgent need to know who were responsible in the hostage-taking fiasco.

"We also want to assure our people that changes are on its way. We will find out who is responsible for this mess and we will make sure that we will support the PNP (Philippine National Police) to make sure that their systems and response mechanisms are going to be better," he said.

Golez, a former Palace official, believes that the country's diplomatic relations with Hong Kong will not be affected.

"But the sentiments of the Hong Kong (Chinese) nationals in their country and here in the Philippines and elsewhere will definitely be affected. That is the reason why we need to fast track all necessary moves in order to mend ways with them to show the whole world that we are going to improve our system," he said.

On the other hand, Nueva Ecija Rep. Rodolfo Antonino said the hostage-taking incident has not only affected the peace and order situation in the country but also has an effect on the international image of the Philippines.

Antonino said those people that involve themselves in these kinds of crimes should not only be charged with kidnapping but also with economic sabotage.

"With that kind of situation especially happening in Metro Manila, the Philippines' image worldwide is perceived as a country with no safe place," he said.

Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing said the lesson learned from the incident was that Filipinos must be careful and not be impulsive.

He said authorities are working hard to make the country's economy better, and that includes tourism.

According to Bagatsing, the gains in tourism were gone in a blink of an eye because of an alleged injustice committed against a dismissed police officer.

"But we should still think that we are Team Philippines. We compete with the rest of the world and we have to be very careful and I hope this incident will come to pass and not happen again," he said.

Last Monday, a disgruntled dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza who was set to retire in January next year held hostage a tourist bus with 25 passengers — 21 Chinese nationals and four Filipinos. The incident has resulted to the death of eight hostages and wounded several others.

Meanwhile, Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop filed a House Resolution directing the Committee on Public Order and Safety to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, into the Aug.23 tragic hostage-taking incident perpetrated by dismissed police officer Sr. Insp. Rolando Mendoza.

Acop said the move is to determine whether or not there were lapses in the management of the crisis by government agencies involved and in the implementation of the rules of engagement by the PNP in ending the crisis with the end view of identifying remedial measures to avoid the occurrence of similar tragedies in the future. (PNA)

RMA/LGI

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