Philippine president recommends filing of charges against police officials for hostage fiasco
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has recommended the filing of administrative charges against four police officials for "gross incompetence and serious neglect of duty" that led to last month's hostage fiasco, Xinhua reported.
In a press briefing held on Monday, Aquino said that he's recommending that the National Police Commission formally file charges Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay, former chief of Manila Police District; National Capital Region Head Director Leocadio Santiago Jr.; Supt. Orlando Yebra, negotiator in the hostage taking; and Special Weapons and Tactics Unit Head Chief Inspector Santiago Pascual III.
Aquino also recommended the initiation of administrative proceedings against Manila Mayor Alfreo Lim for misconduct in office and simple neglect and Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III for neglect of duty.
Aquino's recommendation is based from the report submitted by the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) and reviewed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr and the Presidential legal team.
The multi-sectoral IIRC, headed by Justice Secretary Lilia de Lima, was formed shortly after the Aug. 23 hostage taking that led to the killing of eight tourists from Hong Kong.
Aquino is also forwarding the IIRC report to the House of Representatives for "appropriate action" in the case of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. Gutierrez is facing impeachment charges in Congress for her alleged inaction on, and mishandling of several high profile cases, Xinhua reported.
Aquino has directed the Department of Justice to resolve the serious disobedience and conspiracy in illegal detention cases filed against Senior Police Officer Gregorio Mendoza, brother of hostage taker Rolando Mendoza. Aquino also ordered Manila Police District to file charges against Gregorio for illegal possession of firearms and for serious illegal detention as an accomplice of his brother Rolando.
Aquino condemned two local broadcast journalists - Michael Rogas and Erwin Tulfo - for being "irresponsible" in their coverage of the hostage taking.
"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," Aquino said.
"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," he added.
Aquino said he has also admonished Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and Undersecretary Rico Puno for their failure to "uphold the high standards of performance that I demand from them."