Manila Mayor Lim ready to face charges, SPO2 Mendoza still in disbelief

October 13, 2010 7:16 am 

MANILA, Oct. 12 — Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, himself a lawyer, said on Tuesday that he can defend himself in court to prove that he did not commit any violation in the performance of his duties as chairman of the local crisis management committee (CMC).

“I will defend my myself,” said Lim, who himself a lawyer, following the outcome of the review conducted by the President Benigno Aquino III’s legal team.

The president’s legal team who reviewed the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC)’s report endorsed the filing of administrative charges against him and several others.

Lim reiterated that he is ready is ready, able and willing to face the charges against him in connection with the August 23 hostage-taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta Park, Manila.

While expressing disappointment over his inclusion in the initiation of administrative complaint, the mayor welcomes the decision of the presidential review panel to clear Vice Mayor Isko Moreno from any liability.

He also lauded the presidential review for recommending to expedite the case against Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza, brother of dismissed cop Capt. Rolando Mendoza, whose liability was also not mentioned in any way in the IIRC report.

“I am happy for Vice Mayor Isko who was absolved by the panel. From the beginning, I have been saying that he should be absolved,” he said.

Lim also said Ombudsman Mercy Gutierrez should be absolved of any liability. “Subsequent developments apparently sustained my views,” he said.

Lim said he and several others present at the advanced command post during the hostage incident heard from Gregorio himself how he and his brother Rolando planned out the hostage-taking as a vehicle to air their sentiments against the Ombudsman.

“I will testify if needed,” Lim told reporters. He said he is willing to appear in court to narrate what Gregorio has told them.

“Gregorio said they wanted to restore the good name and honor of his brother who was dismissed from the service. Gregorio said he and his brother thought it was the perfect timing since there are demands from some sectors for the Ombudsman to resign,” Lim said.

The mayor, however, reiterated that he does not harbor any ill feelings toward the President or the review panel.

He said he has the opportunity for him to clarify matters once and for all and let the truth come out, including those who are truly responsible and those who are not in proper venue.

He also stressed earlier pronouncements that he had been "kept in the dark", citing three instances when he should have been informed but was not.

Lim said the first instance was when, according to a statement from assistant hostage negotiator Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador, Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza reportedly told him that if he gets his reinstatement that instance, he will release all the hostages, handcuff himself and then get out of the bus.

Meanwhile, Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza said he felt sad and disbelieving when presidential review included him.

“First of all, I am thanking the IIRC (Incident Investigation and Review Committee) panel which investigated the hostage crisis which conducted it very objectively.

"However, I am here today to admonish the downgraded version of the report made by Malacanang's legal panel which I find weak,” he told reporters in a press conference outside an informal settler's colony in Oroquieta in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

“There seems to be something lacking in the report (prepared by the legal team) and is favorable to those who are holding positions in the government. I have nothing to do with the hostage and my neighbors here in this squatter's colony knows it,” he added. (PNA) LOR/JES

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