A JOINT task force has been formed to investigate the gruesome incident that led to the killing of seven Chinese tourists and a former police officer who held them hostage inside a tourist bus in Manila on Monday.

The probe will be carried out by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Justice.

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Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said the joint probe was ordered to establish the series of events during the incident and to determine if there were persons who could be held accountable.

“We want to know what really happened, including the possible lapses and glitches in the operating procedures of the assault team,” said Robredo, who designated Supt. Francisco Peñaflor, special police Assistant to the secretary, as point person of the DILG in the joint operative.

“The team shall look into all angles of the case -- if there was a strategic and coordinated operations plan, if the rules of engagement were followed, if the areas was properly cordoned off from bystanders and the media -- and then make proper recommendations to the President,” he said.

He said the task force shall also conduct an inventory on the available gadgets and equipment and to review standard operating procedures in handling a hostage crisis.

“Evidently, the police lack the proper equipment and the appropriate skills and training to handle these kinds of situations.”

He also said he would check the alleged improper mishandling and arrest of Mendoza’s brother amid the negotiation.

“It could have agitated the hostage-taker,” he said.

Expressing condolences, Robredo assured the survivors and the families of the victims of assistance from the agency during their stay in the country.

Earlier, former Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, who was a decorated police officer, held hostage a busload of tourists for several hours at Quirino Grandstand over frustrations resulting from his dismissal from the police force.

He was charged with extortion, robbery and physical injuries.

Robredo said he would order a review of media protocols and schedule a meeting with broadcast leaders to discuss and agree on certain policies during delicate situations such as a hostage crisis. (Press Release)