PNP says HK report on Luneta hostage taking is ‘one-sided’

A SENIOR police official on Thursday, March 24, described as ‘one-sided’ the Hongkong’s jury report faulting the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the botched rescue of Chinese tourists during the Luneta hostage taking incident last year.

PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., said the report is “unjust” and the Hongkong jurors did not take into account the testimonies and experiences of PNP officials, who did not testify at the Coroner’s court.

“Of course we are affected because they (HK jurors) did not see the other side of the story,” Cruz told reporters in a press briefing in Camp Crame.

The Hongkong’s jury noted the shortcoming of Filipino authorities in handling the hostage incident last Aug. 23, 2010 in Manila where 13 Chinese tourists and the hostage taker were killed in a bungled rescue operation.

Among the shortcomings of Filipino law enforcement agencies was their failure to meet the demands of the hostage-taker, Rolando Mendoza, a dismissed member of the Manila Police District (MPD).

The Hongkong’s report also said that the hostages were deprived of emergency first-aid treatment due to the slow response of the police both before and after the hostage taking incident.

The PNP spokesman said that as an offshoot of the incident, the PNP is now finalizing a handbook that will serve as “doctrine” for all concerned government agencies in handling possible similar situation in the future.

A technical working group consisting of trained hostage negotiators from the PNP formed the handbook and included media regulations during hostage crises and proper coordination between police and local government units during those times.

The police official said the handbook, which is subject for approval by the National Police Commission (Napolcom) also contained special cases such as handling hostage incidents involving foreign nationals. Anthony Vargas

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