DFA defends Philippine probe on Manila hostage crisis

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2011 12:14 AM | Updated as of Mar 25 2011 07:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday defended the local Incident Investigation and Review Committee’s probe into the August 2010 hostage-taking crisis in Manila.

The DFA said in statement on Thursday that the investigation was “fair, transparent and open to the participation of persons and officials from Hong Kong.”

“Hong Kong’s own investigation into the incident was expansive in scope and wealth of evidence precisely because of the full and sincere cooperation of Philippine authorities,” the DFA added.

The department issued the statement following the Hong Kong Coroner’s court’s separate findings that Philippine officials should be faulted for “not meeting the hostage-taker’s demands,” among others.

“The inquest jurors' verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ at the hands of the gunman is consistent with the conclusions of the Philippine investigation,” the DFA said.

“Philippine law affords the families of the victims in the 23 August tragedy the opportunity to seek redress in Philippine courts,” it added.

A disgruntled police officer, Rolando Mendoza, took hostage Hong Kong nationals last August 23. At the end of the almost 9-hour drama, 9 died including the gunman himself.

“The Philippines deeply regrets the loss and disruption of lives as a result of that tragedy and seeks to bring justice to the victims,” the DFA said.

“Towards this end, the criminal and administrative proceedings against the persons found responsible are well underway. Work is also continuing to address gaps in law enforcement and emergency response capabilities.”