Arriving in Manila as a tourist in another country and to hear deaths of tourists in my own country was just so sad and shocking.
I just arrived from Kota Kinabalu at 10:00 PM tonight. I knew about the hostage taker Sp Rolando Mendoza when I read twitter updates at around 3:00 PM, the time I checked out from the hotel. It alarmed me that it started at 10:30 AM and still not much progress on whether the hostage drama would end. My husband said that a person like that is unstable. That should have been a warning signal for the negotiators.
Boarding the plane back to Manila at around 7:45 PM, I had no idea that a bloodbath ensued at 7:30 PM. There was no wifi at the Kota Kinabalu airport for me to monitor the hostage drama. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it to end in bloodshed. The bad news was relayed to us when my husband and I sat inside our taxi cab.
Dead hostages? How did that happen? Where did it go wrong? I am still trying to make heads and tails of what transpired. Jane told me something about the media coverage , being a blow by blow account and the hostage seeing all the drama unfold .
Just arriving from such a peaceful city like Kota Kinabalu just made it so sad. I am trying to imagine myself in that situation. Being in a foreign land then taken hostage with greedy media trying to get a scoop, then complicated with a bungled SWAT operation. Cocoy says, “if you read guidelines for covering hostage-taking crisis, prison uprisings, terrorist actions, you will find that Philippine Media broke all of those”
Can I just say that media need not cover everything ? like the part where his brother resisted arrest.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims. To the Hongkong : I am just as shocked and angry as you are. it is understandable that there is a travel ban to our country. Just know, I am outraged at how our authorities handled the hostage crisis and hope that our president resolves the situation towards a positive resolution.
On President Aquino’s press conference
I was quite disturbed with his facial expression. He seemed to be smiling as he talked about the hostage drama. His calm composure is admirable though. I hope he resolves that media, the police and the SWAT will learn from this .
Reading his official statement, I beg to disagree that there were “encouraging signs”. When I first read the hostage drama at 3 PM, I felt the hostage taker was mentally unstable. The SWAT should have gotten advice form their forensic psychiatrist or psychologist (if any).
Statement of President Aquino on the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking incident
August 24, 2010
With the rest of the Filipino people, I wish to offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims whose lives were lost in the hostage situation at the Quirino Grandstand. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs has conveyed our deep feelings of sorrow to the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China and the people of Hong Kong through Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang. I have tasked Secretaries Soliman and Lim to provide everything necessary for the recovery and return home of the survivors. I have directed the fullest cooperation with the Hong Kong authorities on the part of our officials.
From the onset of this incident, the hostage-taker seemed to not be belligerent, as shown by the release of hostages. These were encouraging signs.
We were going to wait him out. The idea was to let the ground commanders who are the experts in this field handle the operation with minimal interference from people who are less expert.
But the situation deteriorated rapidly when, during the course of the negotiations, he was given the letter of the Ombudsman in which she promised to personally review his case. As he was reading the contents of the letter, while talking to an unknown individual on the phone, he became increasingly agitated.
The presence of his brother also added to the tension.
At this point, he threatened to kill a hostage. The police decided to remove the brother from the scene. As the negotiators were departing, the negotiators were shot at.
Media coverage of his brother being taken into custody further agitated the hostage-taker.
Shots were fired. They seemed to be warning shots, as there was no audible indication of tumult or chaos to show that the hostages were in immediate danger.
Nonetheless, the negotiators tried to reestablish contact the hostage-taker but they were unsuccessful as the cellphone of the hostage-taker was continuously busy. He also refused to answer the throw-phone provided for him by the authorities.
The escape of the driver, combined with his reports that the hostages were being harmed, forced the assault to happen. When the vehicle began to move, and with reports that he had hand grenades, a decision was made to immobilize the vehicle as it would have made the situation even more dangerous.
As we know, the incident tragically ended in the deaths of eight innocent civilians.
We expect more of the facts to come to light and I have ordered Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to thoroughly lead this review.
Postcripts Of A BloodBath
(Update: Media sources say that there is no such victim.
Got this from an email forward. This is supposed to be a survivor witness account. It might be a fictitious account but the terror inside is real.)