Thoughts on yesterday’s Manila bus hostage crisis

We were eating a late lunch when my officemate said that there was a bus hostage crisis in Quirino Grandstand. It was only when I went to the Inquirer website that I learned of what was really happening.

A bus with Chinese and Hong Kong tourists aboard, along with 3 other Filipinos, were taken hostage by a former policeman named Rolando Mendoza. As of my reading (around 4PM yesterday), the Philippine National Police has been negotiating with Mendoza to free the hostages. Mendoza, on his part, was demanding his case be reviewed and that he gets his job (and benefits, I think) back. He was dismissed from his post because of drug-related crimes and charges of extortion.

Until I got home, everyone was glued to the TV, wanting to know what was going to happen. The hostage drama ended at around 9PM. Was it a success? I don’t know. Mendoza was sniped at the head, but some tourists died as well.

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Mendoza reminded me of Dennis Hopper’s character in Speed.

A decorated cop disgraced from the ranks. Holds people in a bus hostage (though with a different take). In the end, he dies as well.

Life, indeed, is like a movie. And vice versa.

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Crowd control is essential in situations like these. Unfortunately, here in the Philippines, we don’t have that. Did you see how the people just rushed near the bus when the PNP signaled that the situation was now stable? They did not mind the potential dangers that were present. What if the bus had a bomb and it just exploded while the cops were taking out the hostages? They would’ve died there as well.

And the kid who got hit by a stray bullet? You know, I almost pitied the guy when he got hit on the leg. But then I thought, if he was smart enough NOT to be there, then he wouldn’t have to take one, right?

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During the hostage drama, there was one time I saw that the PNP positioned behind the bus threw something inside, probably a smoke grenade or tear gas or a flashbang, but failed to get in and bounced back at them.

Good thing it wasn’t a live grenade.

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Didn’t get to watch PNoy’s live presscon on TV last night at NBN. My mom was busy surfing from ABS-CBN and GMA.

I got to read comments, though, on why it took him so long to issue a statement and stuff.

He needs to be pro-active and take charge in situations like these.

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Sorry, did not bother to watch Isko Moreno, too.

So… what was his statement again?

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Checking out my Plurk today, I read a comment a friend of mine made about our country’s SWAT team.

SWAT: Sorry We Are not Trained.

And to quote another online buddy: “…gamers who play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Battlefield could’ve done better.”

Hays, this has been a problem since time immemorial. When will “Manila’s Finest” be given the right training and equipment so they could live up to their name?

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Same online buddy asked if the media escalated the already stressful situation yesterday.

I would say yes, of course they did. Heck, the bus had a TV inside so he knew what was going on outside. Then he sees his family, relatives, and friends being interviewed. Plus reports and side comments — enough to have made him snap.

I have friends working in the media. And I admire them for being able to face the dangers of working for a scoop. But there are times that they somehow aggravate the situation because they aired live footages.

Maybe next time, they could air delayed telecasts. Or have a media blackout. So that the cops can resolve it without too many distractions that could hamper the situation. Then, probably, more lives had been saved.

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One newsbit this morning had a footage of Mendoza’s relative saying, “Ang mali yung Ombudsman.”

Apparently, the letter from the Ombudsman that Mendoza received yesterday during the hostage crisis upset him.

Wonder what was written there.

Hi, Ombudsman, it’s time you clear the air.

No Comments

  • rj's mama August 24, 2010 at 9:31 am

    SWAT apparently now has a new meaning – Sobra Wala Ako Training or Sugod-Wait-Abante-Tago

    The media was also at fault. All news reporters were so hyper in reporting what the SWAT team was doing. I was really wondering, while watching the news, kung basketball ba ang pinanonood ko?!

    Reply
    • moonchild117 August 24, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      LOL @ Sugod-Wait-Abante-Tago.

      Yeah, grabe rin ang media ngayon, blow by blow account. Sana media blackout na lang since there was a TV in the bus and Mendoza was watching…

      Reply
  • Yam Yam August 24, 2010 at 10:54 am

    hay… if this is about national security… kung may gyera, talo na tayo. parang ikwento daw ba ang status natin sa kalaban… ang saya saya!!!

    and freedom does not mean that we have the right to do ANYTHING we want, it means, doing things that will not encrouch the freedom of others. so meaning may restrictions parin. damn, i can see lots of issues that will emanate from this. hay!

    Media is ok to keep those in power in check… pero naman!!! i hope they’ll know their limits… and yes, usi here usi there… tapos pag tinamaan, sino may kasalanan??

    if this happened abroad, i’m sure cordoned off na ang area ng sobrang layo with no bystanders! hayz

    Reply
    • moonchild117 August 24, 2010 at 3:51 pm

      yeah, somehow media aggravates an already stressful situation. uso pa naman ang live feed, exclusive live interview, etc. ayun, nag-amok tuloy…

      Reply
  • Reasons « Hits and Mrs. August 25, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    […] Reasons 25 08 2010 [Sorry, this serves as the Part 2 of my post on my thoughts on the hostage crisis] […]

    Reply
  • joan August 27, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Who are at fault, as follows: Mendoza -the Hostage taker, the brother of the Hostage taker, Swat team, Philippine Media (even they are at fault they continue to justify – they are no better than some criminals/police in the Philippines – who kept denying even they were already caught on video doing criminal acts.

    For Philippine Media, please read this – Sin of omission and Sin of commission. If you do not know then perhaps you do not deserve to be in Media.

    Reply

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