MANILA (Updated 12:41 p.m.) -- Lawmakers grill police officials in an ongoing Senate hearing Thursday over a foiled rescue operation of a hostage-taking incident Monday at Quirino Grandstand, Manila.

Senators asked relieved Manila Police District Chief Rodolfo Magtibay why the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team delayed the assault on the bus and was ill-equipped to conduct the operation.

The senators also questioned Magtibay why he did not use the Special Action Force (SAF) operatives who were in the area and insisted on utilizing the MPD Swat team.

"I believed the MPD Swat team can find ways to carry out properly the operations," Magtibay answered.

Magtibay, in the hearing, also confirmed it was Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim who ordered the arrest of Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza who is the brother of slain hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza.

Earlier, Gregorio said in a television interview it was Lim who ordered his arrest. Gregorio's arrest reportedly agitated his brother Rolando, prompting to open fire on the hostages that resulted in the death of five Hong Kong nationals and three Canadians.

On the other hand, the senators also questioned Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo for his "non-participation" in the 12-hour drama that left eight foreign nationals dead.

Robredo explained he was in the site but left the negotiation to the proper authorities rather than personally intervene in the talks.

Senator Bong Revilla also questioned the negotiation team's negation of the demands of the suspect, saying, "You can give all and offer anything just to rescue the hostages."

On Wednesday, Magtibay and four officers of a special assault team were relieved from their posts after Monday's hostage crisis ended in a bloodbath.

Magtibay, who handled the botched rescue operation and ordered the assault, offered to go on leave and distanced himself pending full investigation of the bloody hostage crisis.

President Benigno Aquino III directed Verzosa to accept Magtibay's offer of leave.

However, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Leocadio Santiago said in a radio report that after Magtibay's leave, Versoza will continue to relieve him from his post.

Leocadio Santiago named Senior Superintendent Francisco Villaroman, deputy director of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Eastern Mindanao, as Magtibay’s replacement starting Thursday.

Likewise four personnel of the Manila Police District’s Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) were administratively relieved that include Chief Inspector Santiago Pascual, Senior Police Officer (SPO) 4 Reynaldo Antonio, SPO3 Alfonso Gameng, and SPO2 Bernardo Espinosa, PNP spokesman Agrimero Cruz Jr. said.

Cruz said the four officers who were part of the 200-man assault team will have to surrender their firearms for some ballistic tests.

He said they were suspended to prevent them from exerting “undue influence” on the investigation.

The police earlier admitted that there have been lapses in handling the crisis, including the poor negotiation with hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza, inadequate equipment for the Swat team, bad crowd control, and allowing the media to roam around the hostage site, which sparked calls from lawmakers to enforce news blackouts after media outfits detailed the police’s assault plan and movements.

As of this posting, the police are detailing the entire operations to the lawmakers. (JP/Sunnex)