His Excellency BENIGNO S. AQUINO III
President of the Philippines
On the recommended actions to be taken after reviewing the report of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee on the August 23rd Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking incident
[October 11, 2010]
The Executive Secretary (ES) and the Chief Presidential Legal Council (CPLC) have completed their review of the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC).
The review was undertaken within three basic parameters:
First, the facts enumerated in the IIRC report; second, the possible criminal, and administrative sanctions that could be imposed under the law; third, whether the cases to be filed will prosper.
The Review also defines concepts such as reckless imprudence, simple imprudence, criminal negligence, neglect of duty, simple neglect of duty, gross incompetence, mistake in judgment, that are offenses under the law and punishable, if proven.
This having been done, I am ordering that the following actions be taken:
• Refer to the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) the filing of appropriate charges against P/Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay for gross incompetence and serious neglect of duty (under Sec. 2, Rule 21 of the PNP Uniform Rules);
• Refer to the NAPOLCOM the filing of appropriate charges against Police Director Leocadio Santiago Jr. for less grave neglect of duty (under Sec. 2, Rule 21 of the PNP Uniform Rules);
• Refer to the NAPOLCOM the filing of appropriate charges against P/Supt. Orlando Yebra for neglect of duty (under Sec. 2, Rule 21 of the PNP Uniform Rules);
• Refer to the NAPOLCOM the filing of appropriate charges against Police Chief Inspector Santiago Pascual III for gross incompetence (under Sec. 2, Rule 21 of the PNP Uniform Rules);
• The initiation of administrative proceedings against Manila Mayor Alfreo Lim for misconduct in office and simple neglect (under Sec. 60 of the Local Government Code). His case will be referred to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for appropriate proceedings;
• The initiation of administrative proceedings and investigation of Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III by the Office of the President for neglect of duty and/or inefficiency in the performance of official duty (under Rule XIV, Sec. 22 of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of E.O. 292 and other pertinent civil service laws, rules and regulations) and gross misconduct (under Sec. 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act);
• Refer the IIRC Report to the House of Representatives for appropriate action in the case of Ombudsman Merceditas Guttierez;
• Instruct the Department of Justice to expedite the resolution of the serious disobedience and conspiracy in illegal detention cases currently lodged against SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza and to instruct the Manila Police District to file appropriate complaints for illegal possession of firearms and serious illegal detention as an accomplice of his brother Rolando Mendoza;
In the case of media, we view media as an effective partner in providing checks and balances, and to this end, allies in our goal of good governance. We will continue to champion freedom of the press as guaranteed in our Constitution. However, in this case, freedom was not tempered with appropriate responsibility in the behavior of Michael Rogas and Erwin Tulfo of RMN. Rogas interfered in the negotiations and effectively aided and supported the hostage taker by giving him a platform to air his demands. Tulfo, by his own admission, violated police instructions. Their behavior was irresponsible bordering on the criminal.
We understand that the major networks have taken action to discipline errant reporters and are reviewing and revising guidelines for coverage in emergency situations. These are encouraging signs that media is taking responsibility for its actions.
We expect this kind of unprofessional behavior not to be repeated again, or we could be compelled to ask Congress for appropriate regulations to protect the safety of the public, our security forces and media itself.
I have also admonished Secretary Robredo and Undersecretary Puno for failing to uphold the high standards of performance that I demand from them. I sat them down last night. The outcome was a commitment for more professionalism, starting with their acting as one.
I pledged from the very start that there would be accountability. The purpose of the Review was to find the viable legal actions which can be taken against the concerned parties.
In addition, as you know, we are taking steps to enhance our ability to respond to future crises.
We are redrafting the ten-year old Malacañang crisis manual written in the year 2000 to make it more responsive to not only hostage situations but other crises we may face in the future. We have also established a presidential situation room so that actions by the government in crisis situations can be more coordinated and swift. We’re also in the process of reviewing the capabilities of our security forces to see what may be done with regard to training and procurement of equipment.
I have also instructed that the recommendations of the IIRC and the review by the ES and CPLC be posted on the Official Gazette website, as promised.