MANILA (Updated 11:16 a.m.) -- House Minority leader Edcel Lagman said Local Goverment Secretary Jesse Robredo, and chief communicators Ricky Carandang and Herminio Coloma should step down from their posts after the 12-hour hostage crisis that killed eight Hong Kong nationals.
Lagman said that Robredo should take responsibility for what happened because he exercised jurisdiction over the Philippine National Police (PNP) whose ground commanders and Special Weapon and Tactics (Swat) elements failed to rescue the hostages.
Carandang and Coloma of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Group meanwhile failed to rein in media practitioners from broadcasting live the police rescue operations, which allowed the hostage taker, former police senior inspector Rolando Mendoza, to monitor the coverage on a television set inside the tourist bus.
"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," Lagman said.
He added the incompetence of government officials should not be condoned to avoid inept hostage crisis operations and to assure foreign governments that the ineffectual performance will not be tolerated.
Robredo already admitted that there were some lapses committed by police forces and vowed a review of the actions taken during the hostage-taking after personally visiting the tourist bus where the bloodbath occurred.
The Minority leader meanwhile criticized both Carandang and Coloma for not going in Quirino Grandstand to monitor the situation.
If Robredo, Carandang and Coloma do not resign voluntarily, Lagman said President Benigno Aquino III should fire them from the Cabinet for "palpable incompetence and culpable indifference" and for being unmindful of the effects of the hostage crisis. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)