The Philippines really just need to take ownership of what happened in the Manila hostage event and just stop trying to defend their actions (or inactions). None of their arguments are valid and just makes them look irresponsible in the international community. Some main quotes taken from today's South China Morning Post article:
Philippine President Benigno Aquino yesterday used a televised interview to rebuke the Hong Kong government over a letter from Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, which he described as "insulting".
Aquino said the letter took issue with his government's handling of the hostage crisis. "We were being told, in very minute detail, what we were supposed to do,"
"I decided not to respond to the official letter from the Hong Kong government, that in my view was insulting. [Instead] I conveyed through the People's Republic of China government that maybe sending that letter to me was not right. I did not like its tone."
Tsang's office said the chief executive had written to Aquino on August 26 "in a respectful and polite manner" thanking him for his government's assistance but also setting out issues he hoped the "independent, professional and comprehensive investigation" would explain. These included the processes of the hostage operation, details of negotiations, considerations behind police operations, the reasons why Philippine authorities could not make promises on the hostage-takers' requests, and the causes of deaths and injuries.The letter may or may not be insulting. But even if it is, isn't it justified? The 8 Hong Kong tourists were killed in the Philippines by a Filipino hostage-taker because of the Philippines police force's inadequacies. Is the HK leader not entitled to be enraged? Aquino doesn't like the HK government's tone. Tell anyone here in HK that, and they'll tell Aquino where he can stick the tone up.
Tsang may or may not be telling Aquino what they were suppose to do in very minute detail. But even if he was, isn't that justified? Nobody knew what to do in the entire event. They initially thought the tour group was from Korea. The rescue was idiotic. The aftermath was chaotic with the media, general public, and medics storming the scene. They mislabeled corpses. They accidentally gave HK officials the cell phone of the gunman. They allowed HK officials to collect bullet casings from the scene but then stopped them at customs when they were leaving the country. Nobody knew what was going on and that is the fault of the country's leader.
"Maybe I'm wrong to tell you this. But I decided then that while someone wanted to quarrel with us, we wouldn't fight back in order not to widen the rift."Here, Aquino wants to sound like he's doing the mature thing by taking the high road to avoid confrontation. Unfortunately, everyone knows this not to be true. He's not "fighting back" because he has no legitimate defense. Everything that can possibly go wrong during the rescue operation did indeed go wrong. Everything that can possibly go wrong after the failed rescue operation also did indeed go wrong. There's absolutely nothing he can salvage to turn into a positive point.
Philippine political strategist Billy Esposo said there was a dimension to the issue that many people were missing. "Have you noticed that China is not really pressing the issue?" Only Hong Kong was doing so, he said, because its local leaders had to reflect the sentiments of their people. Such an insulting letter, he said, "in other situations could even provoke a war".Wow. Is this guy implying that the event is not a big deal because China is not taking a more proactive stance? Did his statements even get filtered through that brain of his before being uttered out his mouth?
On a more humorous note, speaking of war, I wonder if the Philippines national army soldiers are just as well-trained as their SWAT.
Referring to the phone call from Tsang on the day of the hostage crisis, Aquino said it had not been expected that day. "Let's clarify. If a Philippine governor suddenly demands to speak with President Obama or Hu Jintao, that would probably not be allowed," he said.Wow, he's essentially saying the following:
- He's too much of a big-shot to take Tsang's call because Tsang is only the Chief Executive of Hong Kong (ie, local leader) while he's the President of the Philippines (ie, national leader).
- Tsang should have followed protocol by escalating to President Hu Jintao who would then contact Aquino.
It's obvious that nobody was in charge of handling the Manila hostage situation. So now, nobody is taking ownership of the blunders while everybody is taking turns blaming everybody else.
SWAT blames lack of training and equipment.
Mayor of Manila blames his Police Chief.
Police Chief blames the media and the hostage-taker's brother.
The President is now blaming HK's Chief Executive?
Am I being unfairly harsh because I'm Chinese or are the Philippines officials really this moronic?