Press Release
August 26, 2010

Says HK police must participate to avoid whitewash

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday challenged DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, PNP Chief Jesus Versoza, NCRPO Chief Leocadio Santiago and heads of other law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation on the Manila hostage incident to come up with an "honest-to-goodness investigation" as an initial step to rebuild the country's image in the international community.

"My frustration as to how the authorities mishandled the hostage incident is the same as those of millions of Filipinos here and abroad and even foreigners all over the world. There are 100 thousand OFWS in Hong Kong alone at marami sa kanila ang nakakaramdam ng galit mula sa amo nila at pati request nila for wage hike ay binalewala na. Paano natin maisasaayos ito? It will take several steps to be able to rebuild our image," Zubiri lamented at the joint Senate investigation on the hostage incident and alleged violation on the anti-torture law.

"Come up with an honest-to-goodness investigation and involve the Hong Kong police, dahil nagpadala sila ng request, para hindi tayo maakusahan na nag-whitewash," Zubiri warned further noting that the country has already lost valuable tourism and foreign investments because they are either angry or afraid to come to the country.

"Isang halimbawa lamang ito, may nakausap akong isang Hong Kong national na plano sanang mag invest ng halos P200M para sa isang call center sa bansa pero biglang nag back out dahil sa trahedyang nangyari," he explained.

Zubiri also revealed that the PNP has over P122M budget for acquiring anti-terrorism equipment and communication gadgets but PNP officials admitted during the Senate hearing that they are not sure where these are.

"Do we not have enough funding to adequately train our troops. It was mentioned that we even send troops abroad for training but in actuality we can send foreign experts here to train our troops on particular situations. Do we have a particular training program for our anti-terror or anti-hostage taking units? I raise this because we want to assure the general public na ligtas sila kung mangyari muli ito," Zubiri asked.

Zubiri further noted that there were obvious tactical lapses adding that the situation is already a national security concern and yet the police generals were not in charge.

"Bakit hindi po and general ang nag take charge sa ganyang instances? What happened last Monday was Hong Kong nationals were involved, the international community is watching us, why did not, at least, the chief of the NCRPO be in charged of the situation?" Zubiri observed.

He also maintained that the DILG secretary should have taken the lead in the negotiations rather than allowing low-ranking officers to handle the situation.

"Napakasimple ng gusto nitong si Captain Mendoza. Gusto lang niya reinstatement and review ng kanyang kaso. Hindi po siya hardened Abu Sayaff o terrorist with a bomb in the bus and willing to sacrifice his life. Bakit hindi natin naibigay ang kanyang mga demands? I ask this to Secretary Robredo kayo po ay head ng NAPOLCOM being the DILG secretary nasa kapangyarihan nyo po na makipagnegotiate at i-reinstate itong si Capt. Mendoza. It was worth a shot kasi by that time the negotiation has already failed. Why was that tactic not used?" Zubiri stressed.

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