Joint investigation, review committee created to oversee probe of Manila hostage-taking

August 31, 2010 11:20 am 

MANILA, Aug. 30 – The Philippine National Police (PNP) high command on Monday announced the creation of a joint investigation and review committee among government agencies in connection with the ongoing probe of the August 23 bloody hostage-taking in Manila.

In a press briefing, PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said with the creation of the Joint Incident Investigation and Review Committee (JIIRC), chaired by Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, the PNP will stop issuing statements regarding the incident.

Cruz said that seating as members of the JIIRC are Secretary Jesse Robredo of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and members of the presidential Communications Group.

”Pursuant to a presidential directive the Joint Incident Investigation and Review Committee is created effective immediately. The Secretary of Justice will sit as the chairperson with the DILG (secretary of DILG) and the Communications Group as members,” said Cruz.

”The Secretary of Justice will be the sole person who will give or issue statements and updates on the hostage incident, the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and the PNP will provide investigative support to the committee,” he added.

Cruz said the PNP high command welcomed the move.

”It’s better to have only one talking for the whole incident,” he noted.

”We will still be providing investigative support but we will not issue any statement,” Cruz also said.

Last August 23, former Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza held 25 people, 22 of whom were tourists from Hong Kong, inside a Hong Thai tourist bus at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.

Day-long negotiations led to the safe release of nine hostages, seven of whom were Hong Kong nationals.

The 11-hour standoff, however, ended in a bloody assault of the bus by members of the Manila Police Department-Special Weapons and Tactics (MPD-SWAT) after the bus driver, Alberto Lubang, escaped and told authorities that Mendoza had already killed all the hostages.

Eight Hong Kong tourists were killed while several seven others were safely rescued. Mendoza was also killed during the assault.

Investigations are now being conducted by the PNP, NBI and even Hong Kong police to establish what really transpired inside the ill-fated bus. (PNA) LAP/MM

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