Philippines Authorities Accused of Botching Hostage Situation

August 24, 2010

Photo credit: Wikimedia User Sakuradate

Manila (ChattahBox) – An investigation into the actions of the Philippines police during a 12-hour standoff with a former officer who killed eight tourists on a bus before being shot himself is being sought. But already accusations have been made into the competency of the situation’s handling.

According to an anonymous source in the police department, who spoke to CNN about what was happening after the bloody tragedy, already a number of problems have been pointed out by officials who are being otherwise tight-lipped about the breakdown.

Among those issues are inadequate training and experience of both the assault team dispatched and the leader of that team, improper equipment, bad handling of negotiations, which included using the brother of Rolando Mendoza and hindered the investigation, and improper handling of  both the crowd and the media.

With a television on board the tour bus, Mendoza was able to watch the entire process outside the bus unfolding, and it was this coverage that may have led to his increasing hostility during the hostage situation. While he started out cooperative, releasing a mother and her three children, a diabetic and two photographers who were British nationals, he seemed to become less rational as the media showed images of sharp shooters and assault teams moving in on the bus.

It is also believed that having his brother there was a major factor in the violence. Mendoza was originally saying to the hostages that none would be hurt, even though he expected to be killed.

But his brother became increasingly agitated, and ended up running out at the bus, throwing himself on the ground and begging his brother to take him as a hostage and let the others go. Police arrested him, an act caught on camera and broadcast, and Mendoza seemed to snap. He shot two hostages, and then six more over the course of the next few hours.

Eight died, and several people were injured.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has said that no action will be taken on those who handled the hostage negotiations and rescue attempt until an investigation is complete.


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