DAVAO CITY Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday the Manila hostage-taking's bloody end could have been averted had authorities readily killed the hostage-taker at any given opportune time and not allowed the drama to drag on for twelve hours.
Duterte, a veteran of hostage dramas, said if he were to handle the situation, he would have to ensure first the safety of most of the hostages and to guarantee that the hostage-taker would die.
Though clarifying he is not passing any judgment on the bungled hostage negotiations that resulted to the death of eight Hong Kong residents on August 23, Duterte said his previous experiences on hostage dramas always ended with the hostage-taker's death.
Duterte recalled the hostage-taking incident at the detention cell inside the now Davao City Police Office (DCPO) in August 1989 where police authorities killed all of the inmates who took hostage a pastor and several of civilians, including Australian missionary Jackie Hammil.
Duterte admitted having ordered the assault on the detention cell where inmate Felipe Pugoy and several of his fellow inmates were all killed along with a few of the victims.
"Ako gyud gi-order na patyon ang mga hostage-takers. I also made sure that they are all dead," Duterte said in his television program Sunday.
Duterte, then a rookie city mayor, offered himself as hostage of Felipe Pugoy when the group bolted out of the Davao Penal Colony in Davao del Norte days before the DCPO incident.
Duterte was able to convince Pugoy and his group in going instead to the Davao City Hall and wait there for the authorities to give in to their demands. Upon arrival at the mayor's office, Pugoy and his comrades were handcuffed and thrown at the DCPO detention cell.
Few days after, Pugoy held hostage the missionaries who visited them in jail to hold bible study.
Duterte said another hostage incident in the city also resulted to the death of the hostage taker whom he gave only three minutes to release his hostage or die.
Last week's hostage-taking incident in Manila was strongly condemned by China as the police clearly failed in ensuring the safety of the Hong Kong tourists. (Ben O. Tesiorna)