De Lima hopes minimal revision on hostage report-A A +A
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
JUSTICE Secretary Leila De Lima, chair of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC), on Tuesday appealed to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to spare no one on the August 23 hostage tragedy.
De Lima said she hoped the people whom the committee found liable for the bloody incident would remain intact.
“Since under review nga by the President through his legal team, there may be changes there. But on the part of IIRC, sana it would just be minor,” she said.
Should there be changes, De Lima said she will respect the President's prerogative, but noted that the committee will not revise its report.
She added that because the IIRC had to come up with findings quickly, the committee had an open-ended report, citing that the filing appropriate charges will be left to government prosecutors.
Recommended for the filing of charges are then Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa, Director Leocadio Santiago, Chief Superintendent Rodolfo Magtibay, Superintendent Orlando Yebra, and Chief Inspector Santiago Pascual.
Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III, journalists Erwin Tulfo and Michael Rogas, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno were also found liable, as were media networks GMA, ABS-CBN, and TV5.
Lim turns emotional
But in a press conference, Lim lashed the IIRC for including him and Moreno among those recommended to be charged.
Lim said contrary to the findings of the IIRC, he did not abandon his duty as head of the crisis management committee.
The mayor instead put the blame on Gregorio Mendoza, brother of the hostage-taker, for egging the latter not to agree to the offers of negotiators unless his service firearm will be released.
He recounted that Gregorio admitted before him at the advance command post (ACP) that he had knowledge of his brother’s plans. Yet, Lim said, there appeared to be no mention of Gregorio in the IIRC report.
Reacting to the portion of the report stating that Lim should have had his meal at the ACP instead of at the Emerald Restaurant, Lim said: “Gaano ba kalayo ang Emerald sa bus? Eh mas malayo pa ang MPD headquarters sa UN Avenue kung saan nandun ang ibang opisyal ng gobyerno.”
China welcomes report
The Chinese government welcomed the submission and subsequent release of the IIRC report.
However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed that it has yet to fully dissect the report of the panel, citing its sheer longevity.
“The initial reading indicates that the Philippine side takes a sincere and serious manner in handling with and looking into the incident, to which the Chinese side expresses its appreciation,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu.
“Since it is a long report, the Chinese side needs time for a careful study,” the official added, noting that the report was already forwarded to the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
With the report, the government of China renewed calls for the prevention of similar incidents.
“We hope that the Philippine side takes effective measures to strengthen protection of the Chinese personnel in the Philippines and prevent the reoccurrence of similar tragedies,” said Jiang.
Jiang added that China is always ready to continue the further advancement of the bilateral relations between the two countries “in a sound and steady manner”.
Crisis situation monitoring
Meanwhile the government will create a situation room that will be used during crisis situation.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said there is no situation room in Malacanang to use whenever there is crisis situation.
“Well, this is part of the responses to the hostage-taking incident. It was said before that there is situation room, but when we got here, there was none,” said Lacierda.
“It will be operated on a regular basis. Even without crisis, it will be monitoring all the events, situations in the country,” he added.(Jonathan de Santos/Jill Beltran/AMN/Sunnex)