Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
One year after the internationally-embarrassing and deadly hostage-taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand that took the lives of eight Hong Kong tourists, a delegation composed of a survivor, a lawyer for two survivors, relatives of a victim and a Hong Kong legislator returned to the Philippines and publicly expressed their disappointment over what they perceive to be insufficient actions taken by the government in response to the incident.
The delegation sought a formal apology from the Philippine government, asked for financial compensation and demanded that the government criminally prosecute government officials and authorities involved in the bungled rescue operation.
President Aquino has said that while the Philippine government deeply regrets the incident, a formal apology is not forthcoming, as he believes that the massacre was the act of one man. He also believes that his government had already met the two other demands: for reasonable compensation and justice for those who died and believes that it is just a question of how the families and the survivors defined these accomplishments.
The survivors and the family of those who were slaughtered by Rolando Mendoza obviously do not agree with PNoy’s sentiments and assessment of his administration’s response to the incident because, if they did, they would not come over during the anniversary of the massacre to publicly express their disappointment.
Those affected by the incident would probably not be as disappointed in PNoy’s government, even if no formal apology was extended, had the recommendations of the panel that investigated the incident not been watered down to include only minor punishments for four policemen and the inexplicable absolution of the senior officials that had been accused of incompetence and negligence. To add insult to injury, a full year after, the National Police Commission has yet to rule on the administrative cases that have been slapped against the police officers.
The bungled hostage crisis was a defining moment of PNoy’s presidency. Sadly, the way he dealt with the aftermath was a disappointment to many, both Hong Kong nationals and Filipinos alike. After a full year’s worth of experience in leading a nation, it is not too late for him to correct whatever mistakes were made in the days that followed that embarrassing incident.*