Manila Hostage Crisis: We seriously need to level up.


I planned to write an account of my Romblon trip today but due to the recent events, namely a hostage situation which left 9 people dead (including the hostage taker), I decided to write about my trip some other time.

As I was preparing to go to work, I heard from the radio that a hostage situation is taking place near the Quirino Grand Stand. It was reported that Rolando Mendoza, a former policeman, wanted to be reinstated after he was removed from his post more than a year ago after he was charged with robbery and extortion.

Before I proceed to my comments regarding the events, let me enumerate first the things that I know about the incident.

  • The hostage taking happened around 10 a.m. this morning (August 23, 2010).
  • The hostages were mostly Chinese nationals from Hong Kong aboard a tourist bus.
  • The hostage taker apparently hitched a ride while the bus was leaving Fort Santiago.
  • The hostage taker’s demand was to be reinstated after he was discharged due to his alleged involvement in an extortion incident.
  • The initial deadline for his demand was 3pm but was postponed indefinitely.
  • The office of the Ombudsman did not grant the hostage taker’s wish of reinstatement but agreed that they will review his case.
  • The letter from the Ombudsman was given to Mendoza. While reading the letter and talking to someone on the phone, he became increasingly agitated.
  • The hostage taker’s brother was arrested as accessory to the crime because he tried to go to the bus without consent from the police and carrying firearms.
  • GMA news has reported that the hostage taker has access to a TV.
  • His brother’s arrest apparently got more agitated Mendoza after which we saw the bus moving and snipers shooting the bus’ tires.
  • Gunshots were heard from inside the bus after the tires were shot.
  • The driver was able to free himself from being cuffed to the steering wheel and was able to jump out of the window.
  • The driver reportedly said that all the hostages were dead.
  • The police then surrounded the bus and tried to enter the vehicle by breaking the windows with what appears to be mauls.
  • They also tried to break open the door by pulling it out. The rope that they used broke.
  • The police thrown in some tear gas though at least three failed to make it inside causing the policemen to be subjected to its effect.
  • The police were able to shoot from the back of the bus causing Mendoza to move to the front of the bus where he was shot by a police sniper.
  • 8 hostages were confirmed dead.

When I first heard of his reason for taking hostage, I said WTF. How the hell will you get reinstated to the police force by doing a crime? Even if he can prove how he is innocent from the crime that he was charged for, he won’t get reinstated after he took hostage several people.

Initially, Mendoza was calm. The first sign of him getting agitated was when he was reading the contents of the Ombudsman’s letter and was talking on his cellphone. Now I’m not sure if this device actually exists as I only saw it in the movie ‘The Inside Man’ but they have this device that prevents anyone from the outside calling the hostage taker and all calls from the inside will be rerouted to the negotiators. If this device really exist, our police should get one of those.

Another thing that got Mendoza agitated was the arrest of his brother. I was able to watch that part on GMA news and if I were in Mendoza’s position at that time, I would be seriously pissed. I was also able to see live on TV how the driver jumped out of the bus and how the police gathered around the bus, where their positions are and how they are equipped. Right now, a lot of people are blaming the media for their live coverage which might have been used by Mendoza to see how the police are reacting. A lot of these people wants a media blackout in the future for this kinds of crisis. I do not.

What I would want for our police to have in the future are TV signal jammers so as to prevent any TV inside the bus to get any reception. I want this instead of a media blackout because I was never a fan of full censorship.

Also, the police could have handled the brother’s arrest better.

On the part where the police were forcing the door open, I think they should have gotten their hands on the bus’ manual. The bus has been there for several hours, during those time, they could have tried to get their hands on some of the bus’ feature like an emergency button to open the door from the outside or how many doors are there or how strong those windows really are.

The way they tried to pull out the door by using a rope tied to a car and seeing the rope breaks was really frustrating to watch as well as the 3 failed attempts to throw teargases inside the bus. Hopefully, this crisis serves as a lesson on how to improve our police force with trainings and better equipment.

Yes, our police failed miserably today but, with proper training and equipment, they can improve. They have to improve.

As for our economy and tourism, yes, we will suffer but only for a while. We have recovered from worst incidents than this.

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About Squared
House of Squared is written by that guy who knows more than the average Duterte supporter, which isn't saying much given that most of them are morons.

3 Responses to Manila Hostage Crisis: We seriously need to level up.

  1. uzumaki uchiha says:

    i think this is one of the corruption in the PNP, having high salaries and other funds for trainings, Equipments and the like to serve the country yet it is the other way around. I think it is us serving the police. ask people and all they will say is that policemen are kotong cops or the like for such matter. Nobody trust the police. Looking to what happen yesterday, it was a shame that it was telecast worldwide the incompetence of the police force. i think that the police should undergo a nationwide change and that they serve their country better and not just for their interest only. People here in our country fear the police, nobody respects them.

  2. MOOONCAKE45 says:

    check this out, man handcuffed at the bus door suspected being killed by Philippine police sniper: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-vVx2WKnGo&feature=player_embedded

  3. MOOONCAKE45 says:

    the bullet that killed the tour guide handcuffed by the door seems to have come from outside of the windshield…….

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