Palace assures updates on government's hostage crisis probe

August 31, 2010 11:20 am 

By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, Aug. 31 — Malacanang has assured that the government will report regularly on progress of the joint investigation President Benigno Aquino III ordered for ascertaining facts behind the August 23 Manila hostage crisis.

"There'll be periodic updates," said communications group Secretary Herminio Coloma.

He gave this assurance after Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima issued a gag order covering the investigation to put in order dissemination of information on this activity.

De Lima herself will provide updates on the investigation.

Malacanang considers her gag order as a step in the right direction.

"There must be consistency in information that'll be released," Coloma said.

He noted such consistency is needed to minimize confusion over details of the hostage-taking incident.

The DOJ and the Department of Interior and Local Government are jointly undertaking the investigation.

Malacanang wants this joint investigation concluded in three weeks.

Coloma clarified Philippine authorities will exert their best efforts to gather within this time frame as many details as possible on the hostage-taking incident.

"There's a sense of urgency in this but what's more important is for investigators to get the facts and to look at all possible angles in the incident," he said.

The incident ended with the death of dismissed Philippine National Police (PNP) Sr. Inspector Rolando Mendoza -the hostage taker- and eight Hong Kong visitors whom he held against their will inside a tourist bus.

Some of the hostages escaped death as Mendoza freed them earlier that fateful day.

Mendoza hostaged the tourists to demand his reinstatement in PNP after being implicated in irregularities –a charge he denied up to the end. (PNA)

LDV/CJT/mec

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