Manila, Philippines – Breathtaking situation happened yesterday, August 23, 2010 at Quirino Grandstand, Manila Philippines after an ex- Police senior inspector Rolando Mendoza, took 25 people hostage aboard a bus including 22 Hong Kong tourist, a Filipino driver, a Filipino tour guide and Tse, the tour’s Hong Kong tour guide. The bus operated by Hong Thai Travel Services was then taking its Hong Kong based tourist passengers in front of Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park at around 10 AM . Mendoza followed the tourists onto the coach requesting a free ride. When his request was declined by the driver, Mendoza brandished a weapon, handcuffed the driver and hijacked the bus. The mad ex-police was carrying a M16 rifle.
Mendoza took people held as hostages to demand that his case be reinstated with benefits to his previous post at the Manila Police District from which he had been dismissed from for extortion in 2009 claiming that he was only framed. Rolando Mendoza was said to be a police with honor and has decorated 17 times for bravery . He was also one of the Ten Outstanding Policemen of the Philippines by Jaycees International. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said he would grant Mendoza’s wish if he could prove himself.
Negotiations went through until 6 Hong Kong Nationals were freed by Mendoza while two Filipino photographers volunteered to be taken hostage in exchange for the releases.
By noon, four additional hostages (including the Filipino tour guide and the two photographers who volunteered to be taken hostage) were released by Mendoza, bringing the total to ten. TV5 news anchor Erwin Tulfo remained in permanent contact with Mendoza, with Superintendent Orlando Yebra and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador leading negotiations. 17 more people remained on board.
The Office of the Ombudsman disallowed Mendoza’s request to be reinstated in the police, although they assured him that his case would be reviewed. Manila vice mayor Isko Moreno delivered the letter from the Ombudsman to the hostage scene.
His brother SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, arrived urging his brother to surrender peacefully convincing his brother that nothing will happen when he surrender through a phone talk. Gregoria was later arrested by MPD stating that he had breached the exclusion zone while carrying a gun. This happening was seen by the hostage taker inside the bus through the TV on board that made him angry and started to fire shots inside the bus ending into a 9 fatalities excluding him. Mendoza was killed after a gunshot to his head by a sniper and ended the tragic situation.
Mrs. Leung, one of the survivors told the press that Mendoza began shooting randomly at around 8:00 PM which is after his brother was arrested and was not freed. I know the policemen did their job but maybe not enough to prevent anyone to be killed. I don’t want to blame the policemen but watching the report last night makes me notice that they lack strategies and equipments needed for these situations. In short, they are not prepared. Another one is that media is reporting some of the plans the policemen are doing, detailed they are reporting it which I think became a reason for the policemen not to succeed in their plans.
This heartbreaking hostage taking could not be avoided as I know there are people out there who also want to be heard and could do like this but the authorities should at least do something to be prepared and prevent this dreadful ending.