MPD downgrades rap vs hostage-taker brother to just 'serious disobedience, alarm and scandal'

August 28, 2010 11:31 pm 

MANILA, Aug. 28 –The Manila Police District (MPD) on Saturday said the brother of slain hostage-taker in the Monday’s bloody hostage-taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta Park was released after he posted a P2,000 bail Friday.

Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza was arrested at the height of hostage-taking incident perpetrated by his brother, former Sr. Insp. Rolando Mendoza.

A case of conspiracy resulting in seriouys illegal detention was slapped on Mendoza. But police authorities downgraded the case to just “serious disobedience” and “alarm and scandal.”

He posted P2, 000 bail for his temporary liberty before the Metropolitan Trial Court branch 16 on Friday.

Meanwhile, Supt. Nelson Yabut admitted on Saturday that he was distressed over his relief as chief of the MPD's mobile bureau on Friday, but insisted that “as a good soldier” he will follow orders from the Philippine National Police leadership.

Yabut was relieved for taking part in the assault in the bloody hostage-taking incident last Aug. 23 without the standard protective gear.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) started its backtracking of the Monday’s bloody hostage-taking due to conflicting reports of the incident.

Senior Investigator IV Cecilio Zamora, NBI spokesman, said the bureau has to get a clearer picture of what really transpired during the incident that killed eight hostages, composed of Hong Kong residents and Canadian citizens.

The NBI noted, according to Zamora , that there were conflicting reports and has to conduct backtracking in order to check on details of the incident.

“We are doing a backtracking on what really happened. We would like to know how Mendoza went to Fort Santiago minutes before the hostage taking took place,” said Zamora .

Zamora further said: “We still don’t know if a man or a woman drove the car. We have no confirmed data on that yet,” said Zamora.

There were unverified reports that a witness saw on Monday morning that the hostage taker took an M-16 rifle from the compartment of a Toyota Vios before boarding a bus marked Hong Thai Travel.

Armed with an M-16 Armalite rifle and a .45 cal. pistol, Mendoza then took hostage 21 tourists and four Filipinos inside a tourist bus.

Mendoza commandeered the bus to the Quirino Grandstand, where the hostage crisis ended for almost 12 hours.

A news report revealed that lawyer Jose Adolfo Cruz, a labor relations officer, reportedly claimed that he was in his office across the entrance of Fort Santiago before the hostage took place. He said he saw a car stop near the tourist bus, later on commandeered by Mendoza .

Cruz said that after the driver in a “battle-dress attire” boarded the bus and saw a person in the front passenger seat took the wheel and drove away.

Cruz called the attention of a Marine security detail, who was posted in the vicinity of Palacio del Gobernador.

Then he heard from the radio about the hostage-taking.

Police and NBI authorities are now tracing the ownership and whereabouts of the Vios which the policeman boarded.

Mendoza ’s relatives said he left his home in Tanauan City , Batangas, early Monday morning, saying he would be turning over the firearms that had been issued to him.

Zamora said the NBI is verifying the report since it is not yet established if a woman or a man who drove the car where Mendoza had earlier boarded.

“We have to know if indeed Mendoza came from that car or went to Fort Santiago via a taxicab. There are several people who saw Mendoza in Fort Santiago . We are interviewing several witnesses already. We are also checking if there are lapses in the police operations, but we don’t want to preempt the police investigation,” said Zamora .

The NBI had already taken the statements of bus driver Alberto Lubang and one Hong Kong national, the tour guide Diana Chan, who was earlier released during the hostage taking incident last Monday. (PNA) RMA/JES

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