First Report of the INCIDENT INVESTIGATION and REVIEW COMMITTEE on the August, 23, 2010 Rizal Park Hostage-taking Incident: SEQUENCE OF EVENTS, EVALUATION and RECOMMENDATIONS IIRC,
September 16, 2010
“Is that the bus going to the Heroes’ Graveyard?” -PSInsp Rolando Del Rosario Mendoza, to Ruth Del Castillo, Fort Santiago, August 23, 2010.
an 83 plus page final report and at least four other thick booklets have been given to president noynoy aquino by leila de lima, head of the 5-man committee that investigated the lunata bus hostage rescue bloodbath.
several doors are still open, we are hoping at minimum at least a few will be closed. with the end of de lima’s investigation and the submission of the final report. one big door that we are hoping will be closed is the this gaping hole of aquino’s weak leadership. aquino has a last chance to close that door, for him to show true leadership and save himself from a tarnished image as a leader of a nation.
aquino should show, finally good leadership by taking the final report’s conclusions and fire DILG Usec puno, PNP chief versoza, NCRPO chief santiago, ground commander magtibay, leader of the SWAT team pascual, the SWAT team members, leaders of all the teams who were at the hostage crisis and the RMN radio anchors who interviewed the hostage taker. they should all be fired and with some charged with crimes for bungling the rescue of the hostages. sec robredo should be fired for not managing the situation and not saving his boss, president aquino after the hostage crisis.
if aquino does not take this decisive action as the leader fo the country, aquino’s image as a leader will be tarnished forever. henceforth, he will be indexed against this incident.
we have commented on noynoy aquino’s leadership style (read: http://wp.me/pnw03-1lG and http://wp.me/pnw03-1l7) and also called for the the firing of DILG chief jesse robredo from his job (read: http://wp.me/pnw03-1lg ) on his performance during the post hostage bloodshed at luneta park where eight hong kong hostages were killed. robredo as DILG chief to which the PNP belongs to has been getting a lot of criticism from many and we have been reading a lot of them asking for the same thing – for robredo to be fired from his job or to resign.
this is the latest on this issue – president aquino has decided once again to be tentative in his decision making, malacanang did not submit robredo’s name for confirmation by the commission of appointment saying robredo has only been assigned to his portfolio on an acting capacity. apparently, robredo is under probation for two months, something nobody knew weeks before the hostage crisis when robredo’s appointment was announced. also, we did not know that robredo and aquino had “differences” during the presidential campaign. aquino now wants to find out within the two month period if they can sort it out.
we are totally confused by all of these!
by aquino’s own words, he had differences with robredo during the election campaign. if so, why the hell did aquino appoint robredo as DILG chief, in an acting capacity or not? that does not make sense – why appoint someone to such an important position if you don’t trust the person completely and someone you had differences with?
that to us says aquino’s leadership style and decision making skills by themselves are infirm. based on that incident, it seems aquino puts less than the best people in cabinet positions and with whom he is not sure if he can work well with the person.
actually, we don’t believe this whole story on robredo being assigned on an acting capacity basis because aquino is unsure of robredo. we think robredo was appointed DILG chief on the basis of his skills and achievements in naga city where he was mayor. this story was just created recently after bus hostage crisis at the luneta and robredo got flack from many quarters.
we think this is like sitting in the middle, the middle is along the lines of we might fire robredo sometime soon due to pressure but we will just wait a little longer kind of strategy.
it’s a stupid strategy. whoever thought of the strategy should be fired himself from his job.
this strategy was hatched either to buy time and/or save robredo. malacanang is feeling the heat on robredo. the committee headed by DOJ chief lila de lima is conducting its investigation on the hostage crisis, they want to buy time until de lima concludes her investigation. whoever thought of this strategy thinks de lima might uncover something that can save robredo and/or people’s sentiments towards robredo might change in the future and stop calling for his resignation.
the author of this strategy may be giving robredo some time to stay as DILG chief, but what was forgotten was that it makes aquino look less competent as a leader.
the value of this move is questionable and in doubt and it puts aquino in a bad light. this strategy has hit two birds with one stone but on the reverse. it may tentatively help the cause of robredo but it is hurting aquino.
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino admitted on Tuesday that he appointed Jesse Robredo only as acting secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as reported earlier by VERA Files and ABS-CBN News.
Aquino said he had differences with Robredo during the election campaign, which is why he appointed Robredo in an acting capacity. Robredo’s name has not been submitted to the Commission on Appointments (CA) for confirmation.
He told Malacañang reporters he first wants to make sure that he can get along with Robredo, which is why he is in an “evaluation period” as chief of the interior and local government.
“There are various reasons kung bakit acting. In the case of Jesse, we had some differences during the campaign as to style. We want to make sure we can really work with each other well. It does no good to get him through the whole process of the CA only at the end of the day to find out that there might be difficulties in our working style, among others, our core philosophy, so we did agree na acting na muna,” Aquino said.
“May evaluation period, siguro check ang working style, after two months sigurado na tayo, we still have certain things discussed,” he added. “Dadalawang buwan pa lang kami nagkakasubukan kung talaga nga bang kaya naming mag-mesh.”
we are desperately seeking a proper term to describe president aquino’s style of leadership as we have seen it in (in)action during and after the august 23 bus hostage bloodshed at the luneta. we first described his brand of leadership as “weak, invisible and minuscule” (read here: http://wp.me/pnw03-1l7) ). that can be summarized as ho-hum leadership, something that might make you fall asleep if you are not a coffee drinker.
first off, we do not blame aquino for the failed rescue of the hostages and the deaths of the hostages. that goes to the leadership and leaders of the philippine national police who were at the scene. but we blame aquino for some of what happened after the hostage bloodshed.
there are two parts to the hostage bloodshed – one is the operational part which is essentially the attempted but failed effort to save the hostages and resolve the matter peacefully. it is a police matter, one of security and safety. the police are responsible for such matters.
what happened is a failure in police operation and as we saw on live tv, most oof the failure was caused by poor planning, poor execution, lack of equipment and bad decisions.
for those failures, the field commander, magtibay, the SWAT team leader and all the other team leaders who were operating during the hostage crisis are to be blamed for the errors committed during the siege. they need to be fired by the police top brass.
for command responsibility, santiago the NCRPO chieh and versoza the PNP chief need to resign their post as well. they had leadership roles to fulfill but they did not exercise them. both even knew errors were being committed but they did not act in their capacity as heads of the PNP.
the PNP is under the DILG. usec puno apparently is directly responsible for the PNP . puno by command responsibility should offer his resignation., he also failed to exercise his leadership role during the failure.
it’s chief, robredo, is indirectly accountable for the failure of the PNP.during the rescue attempt. he did not have a direct operational role but it is his agency that failed.
the second part of the whole situation is post hostage crisis. for that second part, DILG robredo is directly responsible for,. for that, he needs to resign his position.
the dismal failure of the PNP resulted to lives lost during the hostage crisis and the country humiliated because of the PNP’s failure. because his agency caused that, he should have shown leadership to manage the situation, even for damage control.
it also embarrassed his boss, president noynoy aquino, he should have shown leadership to at least minimize the embarrassment if not prevent it. but as it happened, he really did not do anything post-hostage crisis.
in fact it seems nobody from the philippne government showed leadership, not even presdient noynoy aquino. everyone seemed to b e just standing there waiting for the punches to come in. no action was done to evade the punches not to counter punch. they all just stood there and took the punches.
robredo was the man who was supposed to do that. but he was nowhere to be found, lost and hidden from everyone. he did not even do anything to defend or protect his boss. if he did not protect his boss, then he did not protect the country as well.
he needs to resign for this failure. in fact, he should really be fired from his job.
noynoy aquino was also nowhere to be found. he did tiny things to fix matters but nothing worthy of the leadership to which he was voted for by the people.
there is universal agreement that PNP failed during the hostage crisis and yet no one seem to have taken the right step to impose accountability on the failure.
aquino’s presidency is getting hit bad and is suffering. to stop that, aquino needs to show his leadership by firing everyone who obviously made an error during the hostage crisis. there is already universal agreement that there were failures, we just want to know who committed them and we want to be relieved of them.
DILG chief robredo, usec puno and PNP chief versoza are hurting aquino and his presidency by not resigning their post. the longer they stay in those positions, the more they hurt aquino.
in fact the more effective action, one that will have better effect is if aquino himself fires them and does not wait for their resignation. firing them, two being his close friends and political allies will transmit the message that aquino is serious about what happened and that he values good performance among his people by acting on bad performance.
aquino accepting responsibility does not do anything for aquino, it only confuses matters. the country did not give a collective sigh of relief when he said he was taking responsibility, it only confused them. people want accountability, him taking responsibility begs the question why is he not resigning from the presidency. people have a hard time to differentiate responsibility and accountability.
aquino’s brand of leadership seem to be one of a wait-and-see style. rather than action, he waits for things to happen and then takes action after the fact. it is one that will makes us fall asleep and one that is giving his presidency nightmares.
rolando mendoza, mass murderer of innocent people, a criminal - it is with this man that this bus hostage bloodshed all began and it is with him where practically all of the accountabilities rest. nothing else matters, none of any of the reason he said on why he started the hostage taking is acceptable nor does it justify his actions.
the fact is rolando mendoza is a mass murderer of innocent people and he has brought shame and dishonor to himself, the PNP, hos country and to his family.
he is a policeman, with multiple awards but none of that counts now with this singular act of his as he not only committed a horrible crime, he committed a crime that he as a policeman is supposed to prevent.
his family displayed all the 17 awards he earned as a policeman on top of his coffin during his wake but none of those now mean anything and none of those the family can be proud of. the innocent people who are even foreigners had nothing to do with mendoza’s grievances, taking them as hostages and murdering them is simply an act of terror.
the ombudsman – inefficient and slow justice can kill . while remote and down at the line of accountability for the bloodshed, we need to note the fact that there seem to be something very wrong in the way they conduct their business of dispensing justice. there could be many more but the most obvious one is the very slow pace of cases being resolved by the ombudsman.
the PNP - dismal operational failure, no saving grace at all. we all saw it one live tv, the PNP failed in their handling of the hostage drama. the hostage taking is a police matter, it is an incident they have the responsibility, the power and the training to resolve the natter.
the PNP failed in strategic thinking, decision making, planning, execution, control and equipment.
- they did not have the proper tools to break the window glasses of the bus. they attempted in four different places but failed in all. the sledgehammer they used was not enough to break the glass.
- they absolutely had no control on the whole situation – crowd control was dismal and media control was non-existent. hostage negotiations require complete focus and control from the authorities with the hostage taker, something they did not have as media and other people were able to get in touch with the hostage taker. moments after the hostage taker was killed, the public was allowed to go to the bus unhampered and uncontrolled.
- we think it was correct to prevent gregorio, the brother of the hostage taker from having further contact with the hostage taker and to be removed from the place as he would have been a loose canon, but they have to both the effort to remove him from the place? they made that decision while inside the police station but they were unable to do it effectively as according to mayor lim, the police did not have handcuffs to restrain gregorio. not being handcuffed allowed gregorio to run out to where media was and made a scandalous effort to delay his arrest by the police. it did not help that it appears the policemen and they were many did not seem to know how to restrain and remove 1 person from the scene. the handcuff finally came but that was after many minutes of live video showed the terror and drama of the arrest which not only the public saw but rolando the hostage tajer also saw through a tv inside the bus,
- planning and execution of the bus assault was another dismal failure, it went beyond conedic, it was idiotic. they attempted 4 times in 4 different places and each one failed. they used a sledgehammer to break the glass in 3 different places but it was unable to break the glass. it took them more than an hour to get inside the bus, very long for the hostage taker to make defensive moves inside the bus and more critically, a long time to get the hostage taker agitated, angry and in a panic mode. they did not seem to think yhis through. what is even more astonishing is that media reported after the incident that the SWAT team did rehearse the assault at the back of the grandstand. the rehearsal was not carried out to the actual and the resulting comedic effort is what has hurt the PNP the most next to the death of many of the hostages.
media - live radio interview with the hostage taker canceled the trust and put into doubt the police negotiator. RMN radio was on the cellphone with the hostage taker minutes before the hostage taker saw his brother being arrested by the police and before he started to kill the hostages. we think this call did a lot of damage to the efforts the negotiation as it undermined the authority and credibility of the hostage negotiator.
and yet if you listen to the interview, it was a non-consequential interview from an audience point of view. the topic pursued by the radio interviewer was what the hostage will be doing next, a topic that is best left unsaid and for the hostage taker. in fact asking that question may have given the hostage taker a chance to think through his actions, plan better or worst if he did not have a plan yet, get him to think it through.
we think RMN acted very irresponsible if not violating laws like obstruction.
chilling audio recording of interview with media and hostage taker moments before hostages were shot ; view here :
DILG chief robredo – failure to manage and show leadership on actions and moves after the hostage crisis. while the PNP is all to blame for the failed efforts during the hostage crisis, robredo is to be blamed for what happened, actually what did not happen after the hostage crisis.
the PNP us under DILG chief robredo, he should taken leadership in applying corrective measures after the crisis. the most obvious action would have been to suspend from their jobs all key officers involved in hostage crisis:
- Director Leocadio Santiago who is head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO)
- Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay, director of the Manila Police District (MPD) who was the field commander during the hostage crisis
- Chief Insp. Santiago Pascual the SWAT leader who bungled the whole thing
- All other leaders of the various teams who participated in the siege
aside from suspending the key personnel during the failed PNP efforts, robredo shuld have shown leadership in drawing up action plans for the near future. a lot of the public’s dismay and anger over the government’s failure during the hostage crisis would have been mollified had these things been done immediately, within a day or two after it happened. robredo’s inaction allowed the ill feelings to percolate.
days after the incident and in fact to this day, we do not see any leadership emerging on how to address the emotions and fix the situation. there is no one single person that we can really identify as to who is on top. this should have been robredo’s role being the top leader of the government agency to which the PNP belong to.
president noynoy aquino failed to show leadership, calm down emotions and failed to provide inspiration and direction to get things done right. while aquino cannot be faulted for the failure of the PNP during the actual siege and bungled rescue, he like DILG chief robredo should take the blame for the actions after the incident. aquino’s failure may be much less than robredo, but both of them essentially were supposed to perform the same function.
however, not providing direction and inspiration for the government agencies and the nations is a failure that is solely’s aquino. aquino seemed to be almost invisible during the whole time. if ever he was present his actions and words were of no significance and of very little weight.
we think this is the first real failure of the aquino administration.