Administrative cases await cops who posed at hostage bus, says NCRPO

September 1, 2010 10:30 am 

MANILA, Sept. 1 – National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Leocadio Santiago said administrative cases are now being readied against the policemen who took their photographs using as background the Hong Thai bus which served as venue to the bloody hostage-taking on August 23 at the Quirino Grandstand.

In a broadcast interview, Santiago said that NCRPO investigators have already identified the policemen, some of whom were members of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO), who were caught taking their photographs while the ill-fated bus was still at the grandstand.

Such photographs, showing the policemen, wearing uniform smiling with the bus as background, are now all over the social networking Facebook.

The picture-taking could have been done a day after bloody hostage-taking that resulted in the killing of eight Hong Kong tourists and the hostage-taker, former Sr. Insp. Rolando Mendoza.

The ill-fated bus is now preserved as evidence at a warehouse at the NCRPO headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City.

Santiago said possible violation of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Code of Ethics are being considered against the so-called “Facebook cops,” who are facing sanctions, like suspension or demotion, if found guilty of the administrative charge.

The photographs drew further protests both from the Hong Kongers, who were already angered by what they described as mishandling of the hostage incident by the police.

Last August 23, Mendoza held a Hong Thai tourist bus with 25 people on board, 22 of whom were Hong Kong tourists, to demand his reinstatement in the active police service. Day-long negotiations led to the safe release of the nine hostages, seven of whom were Hong Kong residents.

The negotiations, however, bogged down after Mendoza’s brother, SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, was arrested by police authorities for allegedly agitating the hostage-taker.

Gunshots were subsequently heard inside the bus which was followed by the escape of the bus driver, Alberto Lubang, who told police authorities that Mendoza had already killed all the hostages.

Police assaulted the bus that eventually led to the killing of Mendoza.

However, eight Hong Kong tourists were also killed inside the bus while seven others were rescued, some of them wounded. (PNA)

LDV/MM

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