Friday, September 10, 2010

Initial Manila Police!

[ Photo source: Reuters, S Times online news ]
The news report below is from CNA online news.
Asia Pacific News

Philippine investigators admitted for the first time Thursday that police may have shot some of the tourists in a bungled operation that left eight Hong Kong residents dead on a bus in Manila. President Benigno Aquino said he expects to get the investigators' final report into the hostage incident on September 15, and pledged to fire officials found to have failed in their duties or file criminal charges against them.
"Our government is now focused on taking the necessary steps to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again," he said in a live interview on national television.
"Let me just say that this incident will not define this administration."
Armed with an assault rifle and a pistol, sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza took a busload of tourists hostage on August 23 in a desperate bid to clear himself of extortion charges and get his old job back. Eight of the tourists were killed and seven others were injured in the central Manila standoff.
Police initially insisted the bullets that killed the tourists were all fired from Mendoza's guns. Other bullets were fired into the bus by police snipers and an assault unit but they did not lead to fatalities, they had said.
But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Thursday: "There is a big possibility that there (was) friendly fire." De Lima, head of an official inquiry, also said the forensic reports on some of the slain victims did not match the account of the driver of the tourist bus, who had told investigators the gunman shot the tourists at close range.
"What is crucial, occupying our minds, is if the shots were made at close range, (these) are not consistent with forensic findings," she added.
The entry points of these wounds did not exhibit burn marks caused by the muzzle of a gun that was fired close by, she added.
Asked whether at least some of the victims could have been killed by "friendly fire," de Lima said: "We are not focusing (on that), but we should never miss that. Otherwise our report will be less than thorough."
The panel has asked the Hong Kong police to help with the ballistics aspect of the investigation, she added. "Where did the shots come from, the hostage-taker, the assault team, or other teams? We doubt they all came from snipers and assault teams," said de Lima.
Ballistics experts say some of the bullets that hit the bus were fired from a distance further than the location of the snipers, raising the possibility that other units deployed in the area could have fired into the bus, she said.
Aquino has taken responsibility for the fiasco that has chilled ties with Hong Kong and damaged the Philippine tourism industry. He vowed Thursday to form an elite force, based on Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) to deal with similar hostage incidents in the future.
"We will copy to a degree the formation of that national unit," which would be made up of between 200 and 400 soldiers and police capable of responding to any threat in any part of the country, he said.
Aquino said de Lima's report will serve as the basis for dealing with police and government officials who handled the Hong Kong tourist bus hostage crisis. This could include possible criminal cases, he added. The president said he has asked the former Manila police chief Rodolfo Magtibay, who went on leave amid criticism of his role as ground commander during the hostage crisis, to file for an early retirement.

- AFP/fa
Unk Dicko's Comments:
Why did the bus driver give a completely FALSE account of the shooting inside the bus?
He has been giving conflicting stories ( NOT EVIDENCE ) to investigators. He claimed to have seen Mendoza shoot dead all the hostages. But he was allowed to "escape" before the main shooting began, so how could he have witnessed what he never saw.
Unk Dicko has his suspicions about this driver and the conniving, bungling police.
They may have threatened this driver on pain of death to lie for the sole purpose of covering
their dirty backsides. The driver was held in police custody so obviously they had much time to
use their cowboy methods on him.
In my earlier posts, I had described the police as "cowboys". In the light of this latest report,
especially the highlighted phrases in red, it confirms my initial observations back then.
So the President said he will " copy to a degree" the formation of an SAS.
I don't really think that is very clever. It won't work. What this President is saying is all part of
a knee-jerk reaction...hoping to reclaim some balance, hope and initiative.
Mere copying is dangerous and foolish.
What the Philippines really need is a COMPLETE REVAMP of their nation's SOUL.
They need to do a deep soul-searching at every level and strata in the country starting with their
Cabinet and cascade it downwards.
They need to come up with a NEW VISION for a NEW P'ppines.
Get everyone involved.
When the picture becomes clearer I bet this most shameful National Failure ( hostage fiasco) will not be their Biggest problem. In fact, it might be just a dot on the long list of MORE IMPORTANT things and issues that have plagued them for the last 60 years, at least.
What's the BIGGEST issue that once it is stopped...the country can start recovering?
It's the same BIG issue that is keeping "Abang" country and most other nations from ever
overtaking Singapore....
Tackle this cancerous disease and when the cancer cells die, the body ( the people and nation) will rejuvenate itself and be healthy once again.
MM Lee Kuan Yew told the Russians Paliamentarians the same thing when he was invited there
to share his views on Good Governance.
Have ZERO TOLERANCE for any form of Corruption. No one including the President or ministers will have any special safety net of escape. The LAW decides.
This is what I hope all countries should do.

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