F Hostage-taker killed as drama ends - Powcast Sports

Hostage-taker killed as drama ends

More Videos Inside
By Tetch Torres, Cathy C. Yamsuan
INQUIRER.net, Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 4) It’s over. The dismissed policemen who held over 20 foreign tourists hostage for close to 12 hours was killed by sniper fire, according to a television report.

It was not clear whether there were survivors from those taken hostage Monday by Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza who demanded his reinstatement after he was dismissed on drug-related offenses, which he denied.

Mendoza’s bloodied body clad in fatigue pants and a red jacket which was used to cover the hostage-takers face has been taken away from the site and brought to the Ospital ng Maynila (Manila Hospital).

The law enforcers broke the windows and tried to enter the door of the stalled bus but were stopped by gunshots coming from inside the bus, footage showed.

Bursts of gunfire were heard from inside the tourist bus as lawmen have gone to the backdoor to force it open in the hope of seizing Mendoza and rescuing his hostages, footage on GMA Network showed.

A bystander, identified as a 10-year-old boy, was hurt following the gunshots and was brought to the hospital for treatment, according to the television report.

A police car moved closer while members of the raiding team continued to break into the back of the vehicle, video showed.

Ambulances have surrounded the bus.

The law enforcers initially broke the windows and tried to enter the front door of the stalled bus but were stopped by gunshots coming from inside.

Mendoza seized the tourist bus with over 20 Chinese nationals early Monday morning in Manila to demand his reinstatement into the force.

Mendoza was dismissed due to drug-related offenses but he denied the charges.

Earlier, the bus driver, identified as Alberto Lubang, 38, was able to escape despite being handcuffed to the wheel says told police that some of the hostages have been killed by Mendoza.

In an interview, Aida Beltejar of the Philippine National Red Cross who was able to talk to Lubang after his escape, said that the driver claims some of the passengers have been killed but no exact number was given.

She added that Lubang is in a state of trauma and was partly deaf due to the loud gunshot sounds.

Quoting Lubang, Beltejar said that the driver pleaded several times to Mendoza to be freed adding that he was eventually released since he was Filipino.

Nine hostages have been released earlier and at least 17 Chinese Nationals were left on the bus with Mendoza.

The armalite-wielding suspect, has earlier freed eight other hostages identified as, photographer Danilo Medril, 64, tour guide Rigor Cruz, 73-year-old Lee See Que (Lee See Kyu in some reports), Tsang Yee Lai, 40, and her children Fu Chang Yin, 4, Fu Chak Yin, 10, and family friend Wong Ching Nat, 12, Diana Chan. Another unidentified woman was also released at around 10:30 am.

A national police statement said at least 22 tourists from Hong Kong were on board the bus. The statement said that, aside from the driver, they were believed to be the only people aboard the bus. Earlier reports said that aside from the 22 Chinese nationals, three Filipinos were on board the bus.

Earlier, broadcast commentator Erwin Tulfo arrived at the Quirino Grandstand at around 3:45 p.m. on Monday to help in negotiating with Mendoza, for the release of his foreign hostages and a Filipino bus driver.

Tulfo arrived at the scene and entered the cordoned area after Mendoza posted another message on the bus where he has been holding foreign tourists and a Filipino driver, captive: "Media now."

Tulfo was briefed by the police about the situation before he approached the tourist bus carrying the hostages.

Mendoza posted the "Media now" message some 30 minutes after 3 p.m., the hour by which police negotiators and media were expecting something to happen following a message from Mendoza that stated "Big deal will start after 3 p.m. today."

Earlier in the day, Mendoza posted the message: "Big mistake to correct a big wrong decision.

It was not clear what the armalite-wielding hostage-taker exactly meant by these messages, as police negotiators continued to work to convince Mendoza to let the hostages go.

Negotiators had hooked up a phone line to the bus to facilitate negotiations with Mendoza.

As of late Monday afternoon, the bus’ gasoline supply had been replenished at least two times.

Superintendent Orlando Yebra and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador have taken the lead in the negotiations with the hostage taker.

Background information obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Mendoza shows he has been facing charges for manhandling a suspect before the Office of the Ombudsman.

According to records in Camp Crame, Mendoza was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman early in January together with four other policemen

Mendoza was relieved from his post as chief of the Mobile Patrol Unit in 2008 for his alleged involvement in drug-related crimes and extortion, and was demanding to be reinstated, police said.

Mendoza took hostage at least 22 Chinese tourists from Hong Kong and three Filipinos after seizing a tourist bus at the Quirino grandstand Monday morning.

Mendoza, who has reaped awards for his work in the police service, was protesting his dismissal early this year for allegedly forcing a hotel chef to swallow shabu and for allegedly attempting to extort P20,000 from him during interrogation. Mendoza has denied the charges and has filed an appeal with the Ombudsman.

Negotiators have hooked up a phone line to the bus to facilitate negotiations with Mendoza. He wants to be reinstated into the police service.

Earlier, negotiators delivered a letter from the Office of the Ombudsman regarding his pending case.

The signed and sealed letter was delivered to on site by Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno who has met with officials of the Office of the Ombudsman earlier in the day.

Moreno revealed in a telephone interview aired over the ABS-CBN News Channel that the contents of the Ombudsman’s letter could help clear up things on the status of the appeal he filed regarding his dismissal from the service.

"Kung ako sa kanya, pag nakita ko ang sulat na ito ay magliliwanag ang kaisipan ko (If I were him, I would surely be enlightened after reading this letter)," Moreno said but refused to reveal the contents of the letter.

Moreno said he has been helping solve the hostage situation as a representative of the Manila City government.

"We’re trying to come up with something, kanya-kanyang effort (to each his own effort). I’m stuck in traffic but I just came from the Office of the Ombudsman. I have a letter for Capt. Mendoza," Moreno explained.

As of noon, a gallon of gasoline was seen being loaded into the air-conditioned tourist bus "Hong-Thai."

Superintendent Orlando Yebra and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador have taken the lead in the negotiations with the hostage taker.

Mendoza has been passing messages to police negotiators through pieces of paper he posts on the windshield and doors of the parked bus.

Live television footage showed the bus parked in front of a grandstand at Rizal Park, a popular tourist destination just several blocks from the police headquarters.

The hostage-taking came hours after a South Korean man was killed in a separate attack by gunmen elsewhere in Manila. Police said the incidents were not related.

Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said that the bus was operated by a Hong Thai, a Hong Kong-based travel agency.

The national police statement confirming the tourists were from Hong Kong corrected earlier statements by police that they were South Koreans.

The incident brought back memories of a similar hostage taking in 2007, when a troubled civil engineer armed with a grenade took over a bus and took hostage 30 kindergarten students but freed them after a 10-hour standoff with police.

That hostage-taking happened near the Manila city hall, just off Rizal Park. with reports from Tetch Torres, Inquirer.net; Alcuin Papa, DJ Yap, Marlon Ramos, Philippine Daily Inquirer; Agence France-Presse



Post a Comment