Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Manila Hostage Case - Still nobody with the guts to admit fault

I told myself that I wasn't going to write about this story anymore. But it seems every time that someone relevant speaks up in the Philippines, it does nothing but cause more disgrace to their troubled reputation.

Yesterday, an inquiry report was released which is essentially a transcript of what transpired on that day. It lists out what happened, what went wrong, and who are to be punished. You may download the report here. (Source)

I've never seen these types of reports so I'm not going to judge the contents of it. Everybody already knows what went wrong and who's at fault. But there are a couple of things that just really stands out to me like sore thumb.

1. They seriously couldn't produce a nicer cover page with images that aren't blurry? The image I used on top of this post is from the report cropped at 100% zoom.

2. Have a look at page 4. Is that the norm for these reports? The entire page contains just a quote from the hostage-taker. I felt like this was the beginning of a thriller novel. See image on the right.

3. Check out the signatory page (ie, last page). The report was signed off by the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and 3 members of the investigation committee. Noticed what Vice Chairman Robredo scribbled next to his signatory? It reads:
"did not participate in the deliberations on the determination of accountabilities of the parties cited."
If his statement is true, then why did he sign off on the report? Why is he even on the committee, let alone the Vice-Chairman? How did he contribute to the report? (Perhaps he's the one responsible for photoshopping those images on the cover page?) It sounds like he's scared that the parties at fault will come at him for revenge. Or he knows there's something fishy about the report and he doesn't want to be liable?

Anyway, today's article in the South China Morning Post highlights some reactions of those identified as accountable for that tragic event.

The following is from the article regarding Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim:

...he hit out at an inquiry report that recommended he and his deputy be punished over last month's tragedy.
Lim was near to tears yesterday as he repeatedly slammed a table with his fist during a press conference he called to contest recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC).
"Only the police would put their lives on the line in such situations and we get this," said Lim, a former Manila police chief. "The vice-mayor's and my inclusion, and even the negotiator, on the list of those found culpable by the IIRC is too sweeping and totally lacking in factual and legal basis," Lim said.
The Mayor of Manila is essentially pouting like a 4 year-old girl. I'm surprised he didn't stomp his feet and say "It isn't fairrrrrrrrrr!" Also, here's the "factual basis" he said is lacking according to the report:
He [1] failed to activate the the city's crisis management committee, [2] was absent from the command post at the most critical time (he was at dinner), and [3] ordered the arrest of the hostage-taker's brother.

According to the article, the Mayor
admitted that "we bungled" the crisis. But he said suspended Manila police chief Rodolfo Magtibay, the ground commander during the hostage taking, was more to blame.
This isn't the first time he threw the police chief under the bus. See here. I'm just surprised he did it again.
He said he was willing to be jailed as long as they spared Manila Vice-Mayor Francisco Domagoso "because he has no fault here. Me, I'm ready to face charges. We can't do anything because sometimes that's how the ball bounces".
When the leader is incompetent, the 2nd-in-command has the authority and responsibility to take action. Therefore, the Vice-Mayor is at fault even though he didn't do anything because he's suppose to be doing something! Also, that's how the ball bounces? Considering that 8 people died, that's just not something appropriate to say.
Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno also said he did nothing wrong and vowed that if Lim was jailed, he would join him. "I don't really understand why we, who managed to rescue nine [hostages] are being sanctioned," he added.
Wow. (Firstly, how many Vice-Mayors are there?) This guy should be jailed just for producing that idiotic utterance. He needs to get his facts straight. They didn't rescue nine hostages. The gunman just failed in murdering those nine hostages.
Moreno was cited by the inquiry for not taking Mendoza's demands to the Department of Justice, whose headquarters was just minutes away from the site of the crisis, as the gunman had requested. Instead, he traveled to the Ombudsman's office three hours away.
It's just shocking. The stories of stupidity of these so-called leaders are just shocking.
The Philippine radio station accused of preventing a negotiator from contacting Mendoza also rejected accusations that it contributed to the tragedy.
Aquilino Pimentel, lawyer for Radio Mindanao Network, criticised the official inquiry's call for three of its staff to be prosecuted for holding phone interviews with the hostage-taker. "The interview by [radio reporter] Michael Rogas gave the hostages an extra few hours to live," Pimentel told the station.
You would think that a lawyer would be educated enough not to say something that inappropriate. But alas, his decorated law degree doesn't protect him from the wave of stupidity washing over all the other Philippines top officials.

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