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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Sorry, did not bother to watch Isko Moreno, too.
So… what was his statement again?
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?
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.
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.