MANILA, Philippines - Malacanang has upheld a recommendation by the National Police Commission to dismiss from government service a former Manila Police District director who was involved in the bungled rescue of hostages in the Aug. 23, 2010 Quirino Grandstand hostage crisis.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. signed the recommendation, dated July 18, for the administrative sanction imposed on Chief Superintendent Rodolfo Magtibay, who was among the law enforcers charged for the death of eight Hong Kong tourists during the hostage crisis.
Magtibay was “found guilty” of the administrative charge of gross incompetence and “meted the penalty of dismissal from the service with all the necessary penalties.”
Among the police official’s sanctions include the cancellation of his civil service eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and disqualification for re-employment in the government service.
Last April, the Hong Kong and Philippine government settled the issue amicably, after Manila – through Mayor Joseph Estrada in coordination with Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras – expressed the government’s “regret and sympathy” for the incident.
Almendras clarified the national government did not have to say sorry to Hong Kong government over the highly sensitive issue, in line and consistent with the instructions of Aquino, who from the start refused to extend apologies over the incident.
He said Hong Kong’s lifting of its sanctions imposing visas for traveling Filipino public officials was actually a product of continued dialogues between the two parties that started in the October 2013 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia.
Praying for souls
Meanwhile, 27 Buddhist monks from Hong Kong will visit the Manila city hall today as part of their preparations for rituals they will conduct at the site of the hostage-taking at the Quirino Grandstand.
An advisory from the city government’s information office stated the 27 monks will hold their prayer rituals on Aug. 19. The monks arrived in the country yesterday.
Estrada told The STAR he flew to Hong Kong last week to arrange for the monks’ airfare and hotel stay while in Manila to pray for the souls of the eight Hong Kong nationals who were killed by former policeman Rolando Mendoza during the hostage crisis. – With Jose Rodel Clapano