I learned about the hostage-taking in Manila when I visited the Inquirer’s homepage while taking a five-minute break from work. I just had to log on to Pinoyexchange on my Opera Mini and check the developments. It was first reported that the bus was full of Korean tourists. It was later corrected that Hong Kong tourists were taken hostage.
Inquirer reported that the hostage-taker, Rolando Mendoza was a recipient of the TOPP (Ten Outstanding Policemen of the Philippines) in 1996 but was dismissed earlier this year on allegations of extortion.
The incident which got Mendoza sacked from his profession happened two years ago. He and other policemen extorted money from and ordered Christian Kalaw to swallow a packet of shabu. The policemen’s action were known and were sanctioned through a viral email sent by the victim’s father. I read all the comments posted there while on the subway! The last comment was posted on April 30, 2009.
When I got home, my husband was watching the 9 o’clock news on MBC and it was at that moment that they were reporting about the hostage incident. After this, they also talked about a South Korean who was also killed in the Philippines in the afternoon. The two incidents are not related but this sends an unfavorable message abroad. In fact, we are now the only country in Hong Kong’s OTA (Outbound travel advisory) in the SEVERE THREAT category where their citizens are advised to “avoid all travel”.
I kinda dread going to work tomorrow. I expect that I will be asked questions I don’t have answers to.
Condolence to the families of the victims.