Philippine President apologizes for smiling after bus hostage crisis
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III Wednesday apologized for smiling after a bus hostage crisis that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead, DPA reported.
Aquino smiled a couple of times during a late-night press conference after Monday's 11-hour standoff, which also led to the killing of the hostage-taker, a sacked police officer.
He was also seen smiling while inspecting the bullet-riddled bus at a seaside park in Manila after a botched rescue assault.
Aquino said his facial expression after the tragic ending to the hostage-taking was "more an expression of exasperation rather than anything."
"My smile might have been misunderstood," he told reporters. "If I've offended certain people, I apologize to them. Obviously there was no joy in attending to that situation."
Aquino has received numerous highly critical comments for the way his administration handled the hostage-taking of of 25 people, mostly Chinese tourists from Hong Kong.
In comments on his Facebook account, he was criticized for being "the worst president in history," a "stupid president," a "missing-in-action president" and a "coward president."
Aquino again urged the people and authorities of Hong Kong for understanding over the tragedy.
"We ask for their understanding," he said. "We are correcting deficiencies that we have noted in the implementation of our operating procedures. None of us wanted this outcome."