- Office of Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman
- 25 August 2010
- 0918-9120137 / 0196-6406737
Neither a postmortem of the tragic hostage-taking fiasco nor a contrite presidential apology will be enough if the heads of high ranking responsible officials are spared.
Palpable incompetence and culpable indifference must not be condoned in order that bungling and inept hostage crisis operations will not be repeated and to assure foreign governments that ineffectual and errant performance of government officials will not be tolerated.
Secretary Jesse Robredo of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Secretaries Ricky Carandang and Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Group should all resign and take responsibility for the fatal blunders in the handling of the hostage crisis last Monday.
Robredo exercises jurisdiction over the Philippine National Police (PNP) whose ground commanders and SWAT elements bungled the negotiations and rescue operations resulting in the death of eight tourists from
Concerned police officials have already admitted the serious failures and major defects in the handling of the crisis situation, and command responsibility is lodged with Robredo who failed to take full control of the situation and did not immediately respond to the scene of the crisis which lasted 11 hours.
Carandang and Coloma failed to rein in media practitioners from broadcasting live police rescue operations which allowed the hostage-taker, former Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, to monitor the coverage on the tourist bus television and anticipate police action.
Crisis protocol for media covering hostage-taking incidents has long been established internationally so that the safety of the hostages is not compromised and official planning and execution not exposed.
Both Carandang and Coloma failed to enforce this protocol on the media which covered live the crisis situation. In fact, Carandang even defended media’s improvident live coverage.
Likewise, there is no report that either Carandang or Coloma went to the venue of the crisis during the 11-hour ordeal.
If Robredo, Carandang and Coloma do not resign voluntarily, President Benigno Aquino III should fire them from the Cabinet for palpable incompetence and culpable indifference, and for being unmindful of the adverse effects of the hostage crisis, if not properly addressed and solved, to the economy, tourism and overseas employment.