The 11-hour Manila hostage crisis led by axed police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza is over. Mendoza is dead during the police assault, after he fired shots at the Chinese tourists that he hostaged.
In doing a post mortem of the crisis, there are many things to consider and many questions that are begging for answers.
The government, through the Palace, DILG, PNP, DOJ, and other relevant agencies, should act swiftly to investigate the matter and find out what really happened.
- If Mendoza had already been dismissed, where did he get his firearms? Who gave these to him?
- Did he receive enough due process at the Office of the Ombudsman?
- Mendoza had a large rifle. How was he able to go around Manila without any authorities noticing him?
- Were the bullets that killed the tourists from Mendoza? Or were they from the assault team?
- A civilian was hit by a stray bullet. Was the hostage scene cordoned off effectively. It had seemed that some media personnel were very close to the scene. If this were the case, then doesn’t this affect operations — aside from putting their lives in danger?
- With Mendoza dead, what justice/just compensation can the survivors and the families of the dead hostages expect from government?
- Did the bus have a radio or TV set and was Mendoza able to monitor the news during the hostage? I understand that his brother, who had tried to intervene earlier in the afternoon, had been arrested by police before Mendoza started firing. Was this something that he was able to monitor — and did hearing about this if he did, affect the outcome of the crisis.
Authorities will need to explain why the hostage crisis took long to resolve. Of course, extra care had to be exercised. I anticipate assessments of hostage crisis experts.
Hong Kong has already released a travel advisory telling nationals to avoid going to the Philippines, saying that nationals would be under severe threat if they do so. Hours before the hostage crisis, a Korean national was killed by still unidentified gunmen.
The government should review its measures on how to prevent situations like this, as well as to ensure the safety of tourists. It may, for example, be prudent to have tourist policemen, which is what Thailand has.
Media outfits, through the process of self-regulation, should also do a thorough review of how it covered the crisis. Was it all right that a media practitioner take part in the negotiations? Prior to today, the another time a media practitioner intervened was in 2002, when a man took into hostage a four year-old boy named Dexter Balala. The intervention was a failure and resulted to the death of Balala.
There are many questions that need to be answered.