FACTS and SEQUENCE of EVENTS
The Tour Group
The Hong Kong tour group held hostage by Police Senior Inspector (Captain) Rolando D. Mendoza inside the Hong Thai tour bus on August 23, 2010 in front of the Quirino Grandstand along Independence Ave. of Rizal Park consisted of three families, two couples, a mother and daughter, and the tour leader.
The LEUNG family consisted of the 58 yr. old father LEUNG Kam-wing (Ken), the 43 yr. old mother NG Yau-woon (Amy), a 21 yr. old daughter LEUNG Chung-see, an 18 yr. old son LEUNG Song-xue (Jason), and a 14 yr. old daughter LEUNG Song-yi (Jessie). At the end of the tour, Amy will lose her husband and two daughters, and will be left with a comatose son.
The FU family consisted of the 39 yr. old FU Cheuk-yan, the 40 yr. old mother TSANG Yee-lai, a 10 yr. old son FU Chak-yin, and a 4 yr. old daughter FU Chung-yin. At the end of the tour, every one of the FU family will be released except for the father, who will die trying to save the rest of the tour group from a mad hostage-taker.
The WONG family consisted of the 51 yr. old father WONG Tze-lam, the 44 yr. old mother YEUNG Yee-wa, the 45 yr. old sister-in-law YEUNG Yee-kam, the 15 yr. old daughter WONG Cheuk-yu (Tracey), and the 12 yr. old son WONG Ching-yat (Jason). At the end of the tour, the WONG siblings will be orphans.
The mother and daughter duo of 66 yr. old LO Kam-Fun and 36 yr. old LEE Ying-chuen will both survive.
The elderly LI couple, 72 yr.old LI Yick-biu and 66 yr. old LI TSUI Fung-kwan will be both released.
The couple, 46 yr. old CHAN Kwok-chu (Joe) and 34 yr. old YIK Siu-ling, will both survive but heavily injured.
The tour leader 31 yr. old TSE Ting-chunn (Masa) will receive the first bullet from the hostage-taker.
CHAN Kwok-chu, who owns an auto-trading and maintenance business (garage owner), arrived in Manila at 5:30 p.m. with his live-in girlfriend YIK Siu-ling and the Hong Kong tour group on August 20, 2010. The group was led by TSE Ting-chun Masa and included LI Yick-biu and his wife LI TSUI Fung-kwan. Masa led them to the airport carpark to board a bus with the characters “Hong Thai Travel Services Limited.” (Masa) introduced to them Diana L. Chan, their tour guide, a Filipino who was called “Sze Shuk Kung” (Danilo L. Nebril) photographer and luggage handler, and a bald driver (Alberto L. Lubang). Their itinerary of travel was followed for the following days accompanied by Chan, Nebril, and Lubang.
On August 17, 2010, Alberto Lubang was instructed by Maricon Reyes who was in charge of dispatching tour buses of Direction Travel and Tours Inc. to fetch a Chinese tour group at the airport and drive them to Philippine tourist spots for four days. Lubang fetched the tour group consisting of twenty one (21) Chinese tourists on the night of August 20, 2010.
From the airport, the tour group was taken to Macapagal Ave. where they bought fruits, and then to Malate Church. Finally, the tour group was checked in at the Manila Pavilion hotel. The tour group proceeded with their itinerary and the tour proved uneventful for the following two days, as they went to Taal Lake, the Bamboo Organ, Binondo, and Pagsanjan Falls, until the 23rd of August, 2010.
In the morning of August 23, 2010, at around 6:10 a.m., dismissed Manila Police District Police Senior Inspector (Captain) Rolando Del Rosario Mendoza appeared at the doorsteps of his close friend Melecia B. Gonzales at Barangay VII, Poblacion, Tanauan City, Batangas. Mendoza asked Gonzales if she could accompany him in his trip to Manila because he will be returning the firearms issued to him. Gonzales asked Mendoza why he was dressed in his police camouflage uniform. He responded that he had to be in uniform because he was bringing firearms. They left Tanauan at around
The two rode in Gonzales’ car with Mendoza driving. At Bicutan, they went up the ramp to take the Skyway Expressway to Manila. Gonzales asked Mendoza why they were not going to Bicutan to return the firearms. Mendoza replied that the firearms were issued in Manila so he was returning them in Manila. Once in Manila, they proceeded to Binondo (Chinatown) and ate breakfast at Hap Chan Restaurant at around 7:30 a.m. They ate for 25 minutes and left Binondo at around 8:00 a.m. They then proceeded to Intramuros, passed by the Manila Cathedral, and parked the car at Fort Santiago at around 8:10 or 8:15.
At 7:30 a.m. the Hong Kong tour group led by TSE gathered in the hotel for breakfast. After sightseeing, they were to return to Hong Kong at 7:30 p.m. After breakfast, the tour group was met by Diana Chan, Nebril, Lubang, and another young Filipino helper named Egor (Rigor) Cruz. They then boarded the Hong Thai tour bus.
At 7:30 a.m. Diana Chan arrived at the Manila Pavilion Hotel along Manila Bay near Roxas Blvd. to accompany the tour group. They were scheduled to go to Fort Santiago, back to the hotel, then to SM Mall of Asia before proceeding to the airport for their flight back to Hong Kong. With them were the driver, Alberto L. Lubang, the photographer, Danilo L. Nebril, and Nebril’s assistant photographer and godson, Egor Cruz (Rigor in other accounts). Lubang arrived with the Hong Thai tour bus with plate number TWU-799 at around 8:00 a.m. Nebril arrived at the Manila Pavilion at 8:30 a.m. They all boarded the Hong Thai tour bus and left the hotel for Fort Santiago at 8:45 a.m.
At Fort Santiago, around 8:15 a.m., Mendoza told Gonzales to get down and see the sights inside Fort Santiago. Gonzales did as she was told and went out of Fort Santiago at around 8:30 to meet up again with Mendoza who was then coming out of the parking area to pick up her up. They left Fort Santiago and drove around Anda Circle about 200 meters away from Fort Santiago where tourist buses going to Fort Santiago usually park while waiting for their passengers tour Fort Santiago. They then went back to Fort Santiago, then drove again to go around Anda Circle for the second time. Finally, they drove back to Fort Santiago and Mendoza parked on the side of the road near a big building (Note: by all indications this building was Palacio del Gobernador) and got off. He picked up his things from the car, a backpack and his long firearm, and told Gonzales to drive herself home back to Tanauan, Batangas.
The Hong Thai tour bus reached Fort Santiago before 9:00 a.m. There were no other tourist buses at Fort Santiago when it arrived. Lubang drove off and parked at nearby
Anda Circle outside the walls if Intramuros. Chan guided the tour group inside Fort Santiago. After the tour, she gave instructions to the group to meet up at the gate at 9:40 a.m. At 9:40 a.m. all but two guests and Nebril were at the assembly area and Rigor called Lubang through cellular phone and told him to pick the tour group at the gate of Fort Santiago. When the bus arrived, the tour group boarded the bus except for the two missing guests, LEE Ying-Chuen and LO Kam-Fun, and Nebril who was sent to look for them. The two tourists, with Nebril, were the last in the tour group to board the bus. CHAN Kwok-chu sat on the right third row of the bus with YIK Siu-ling near the window (Seats 3C and 3D) as Diana and Masa counted the number of tour members again. LI Yik Biu and LI TSUE Fung-kwan sat at Seats 3A and 3B.
Between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., Mendoza was already observed by bystanders around the area of Fort Santiago. Rolando Jara, a security guard, saw Mendoza with his rifle slung on his shoulder pass by the building Jara was guarding and position himself at the gate of Fort Santiago. Later, he also saw Mendoza board the Hong Thai bus. Daryl Sunga, a vendor at Fort Santiago, also saw Mendoza at Fort Santiago with rifle slung on his shoulder but paid no attention because he was used to seeing tourist police watch over tour groups. He also observed three buses: the Hong Thai bus, a Circle bus carrying Japanese tourists, and a Pintakasi bus with Filipinos taping an advertisement scene inside Fort Santiago. Major Geronimo of the Intramuros Fire Station related that one of his men, Sgt. Doria, saw Mendoza pass by the side of the fire station leading to Fort Santiago. Albert Mabanta, a vendor at Fort Santiago, saw Mendoza buy softdrinks from a store near Fort Santiago. Bing Eugenio, another vendor, also saw Mendoza in front of the gate of Fort Santiago. Jaime Mayor, a karitela (horse drawn coach) driver, related that while two of the Hong Kong tourists were having pictures taken with him on his karitela, he saw Mendoza standing in front of the entrance of Fort Santiago. Later, he also saw Mendoza board the Hong Thai bus.
Ruth Del Castillo, a tour guide at Fort Santiago, recounted that while she was standing in front of the entrance gate of Fort Santiago, Mendoza approached her and asked “’Yan ba iyong tourist bus papunta sa Libingan ng Mga Bayani?” (Is that the bus going to Libingan ng Mga Bayani? [Note: roughly translated, Heroes’ Graveyard]). Del Castillo asked “Escort po ba kayo?” (Are you an escort?). Mendoza said yes.
When the tour group boarded the bus, Lubang noticed a uniformed policeman (Mendoza) talking to a Fort Santiago tour guide (Del Castillo). Mendoza, who was carrying a long firearm, a black backpack, and a pistol on his waist, then approached their bus. He asked Nebril where their bus was going. Nebril said “Airport.” (Note: In Lubang’s sworn statement before the MPD-Homicide Section, it was him who said “Airport”.) Mendoza said “Tamang-tama, sasabay na ako” (How fortunate, I will ride with you). He then got on the bus, said “Pulis ako” (I am a policeman), and ordered the door of the bus closed. Nebril recalled that Mendoza got on the bus ahead of him and he told Mendoza “Sir, wala po kaming pulis dito. Tourist po ito.” (Sir, we don’t have police here. This is tourist.). Mendoza asked him if the bus was going to Fort Bonifacio and Nebril replied “Hindi po. Papunta kami ng Pavilion.” (No sir. We are going to the Pavilion.) Mendoza then said “Makikisabay lang ako!” (I will just hitch a ride!).
Diana Chan was giving instructions to the tour group inside the bus when she turned around and saw Mendoza wearing military clothes and an inside shirt and carrying a long firearm, a knife, and a bag. Chan asked her colleagues who the man was but no one replied. Mendoza told her that he was hitching a ride to Rizal Park. She told him that outsiders were not allowed inside the bus. She tried to go down to ask for help from the Security at Fort Santiago but Mendoza was blocking the door and did not move when she said “Excuse me.” Mendoza shouted “Close the Door!” and instructed the driver to get the bus moving and ordered the tour group members to close the curtains and move to the back of the bus, saying “Move back!”. He told Lubang “Dalhin mo sa Luneta” (Drive to Luneta). At this point Mendoza was calm. He was neither angry nor shouting. CHAN Kwok-chu asked Diana what it was all about and she said it might be because of illegal parking.
When the bus neared the archway of Intramuros towards Anda Circle, Mendoza announced “Sorry, hostage ko na kayo ngayon” (Sorry, you are now my hostages). Chan immediately translated the announcement in Chinese to the tour group. While at the back of the bus, Chan sent a message to Lourdes Amansec, the assistant manager of Direction Travel & Tours who hired her for that tour, telling her they were being held hostage. LI Yick-biu observed Mendoza put his bag on the right front row of the bus and took out things to equip himself. The first was a thick leather belt with a handgun on it and then a sabre and three magazines all of which he attached to the leather belt. He noticed that the rifle already had a magazine attached to it.
While the bus moved on, Mendoza allowed the tour group to make calls to friends, relatives, and the police. The tour leader, TSE Ting-Chunn Masa, was the only one who used his cellular phone to call someone. Mendoza called LI Yick-biu who earlier transferred from Seats 3AB with LI TSUI Fung-kwan to Seats 8CD and ordered him to transfer to Seats 3AB again and seat beside the window. Behind him at Seats 4AB was Mr. FU Cheuk-yan. Mendoza then instructed Chan to collect all the cellular phones of the tour group. Mendoza also ordered CHAN Kwok-chu and YIK Siu-ling to the back of the bus and the two transferred to the second to the last row of the bus (Seats 10C and
Lubang drove to Luneta and when they reached Manila Hotel, Mendoza ordered him to turn towards the Quirino Grandstand.
At 9:30, while Melecia Gonzales was driving near the Sucat Exit of the South Luzon Expressway, Mendoza called her up and told her that he has taken a bus hostage. She asked why he was doing it. He told her to just watch it on television and then turned off his cellular phone.
At around 9:50 and 9:55 a.m., the Hong Thai tour bus arrived at Rizal Park near the Quirino Grandstand. Lubang was ordered to park the bus facing Kalaw Avenue. Mendoza then handcuffed Lubang’s left hand to the steering wheel. After some minutes, Mendoza ordered him to maneuver the bus again to face the Rizal Monument. Lubang complained of difficulty in maneuvering the bus so Mendoza helped him maneuver the bus.
At 9:49 a.m., Lourdes V. Amansec, Assistant Manager of Direction Travel and Tours, received a text message from Chan which said “Host.ge in mnl rizal park”. Amansec called Chan several times but there was no answer. She then called Lubang who did not answer also. She then called Nebril who answered his phone discreetly. Amansec recalled Nebril saying “Mam hinostage kami dito sa Grandstand” (Mam we are being held hostage here at the Grandstand). Nebril recalled that he told Amansec “Mam nandito po kami sa harapan ng Grandstand, na-hostage po kami.” (Ma’m we are here in front of the Grandstand. We were taken hostage.). Nebril told her that he was able to answer the phone because he was at the back of the bus. Amansec told him that she will be proceeding to the Grandstand.
Mendoza then took out some papers from his bag and ordered Chan to post them on the windshield of the bus also helping Chan cut the scotch tape with which to post the papers bearing a case number. He then ordered Chan to get back to her seat behind Lubang. Mendoza then faced the tour group and started narrating his story of being dismissed from the police force without getting any benefits and having a criminal case filed against him. He said he is innocent and it was all the fault of his men. He also said “Just cooperate and no harm.” He also said “Iho-hostage ko lang kayo hanggang alas tres ng hapon” (I will hold you hostage only until 3:00 p.m.).
Mendoza then ordered Chan to call the office of Direction Travel and Tours and tell the office that they were being held hostage. Mendoza then also called someone on his cellular phone. He called the other person on the line “Pare” (Buddy). Nebril heard him say “Tingnan mo ang ginawa mo ngayon, ako lang mag-isa dito sa Grandstand… Ang panalo ko, panalo natin.” (Now you see what you did, I am all alone here at the Grandstand… My victory is our victory.). Mendoza then turned off his phone.
Mendoza then told Lubang that he was brought to Manila by his second wife. Lubang asked “Dalawa pala ang asawa mo sir?” (You have two wives sir?), to which Mendoza replied “Oo, dalawa ang asawa ko. Hinatid pa nga niya ako sa Intramuros” (Yes, I have two wives. She even brought me to Intramuros). Mendoza also related the story of his case, that he was innocent and was just implicated. His only fault was that he did not watch over his men. Mendoza said the case hurt him deeply because the penalty was severe.
Amansec left for the Quirino Grandstand at Luneta Park in a van with her staff and driver. While passing by in front of the hostaged Hong Thai bus along Independence Avenue, she noticed a paper posted to the windshield and a uniformed Mendoza standing beside Lubang. Amansec proceeded to the Police Community Precinct (PCP) at the northern corner of Independence Avenue near Manila Hotel and reported to the police that tourists were being held hostage in front of the Grandstand. The police did not seem to believe her so she took them to the bus. When they neared the bus, the police told her driver not to go near the bus so they drove straight ahead past the bus to Blue Bay Restaurant at the southern corner of Independence Avenue. One of the policemen then started to report on his radio. The police got off at Blue Bay and Amansec just stayed inside her van.
Amansec called Lubang who said they were alright and handed his phone to Mendoza. Mendoza told Amansec who he was and told her that he will not harm the hostages and that all he needs is to be reinstated in the service and that all his benefits that were forfeited be restored. Mendoza said that people at the “Camp” already knew what he was doing. Amansec kept on repeating the name of Mendoza loudly so the policemen with her will know who she was talking to.
At around 10:00 a.m., Police Chief Superintendent (General) Rodolfo Y. Magtibay, District Director of the Manila Police District (MPD), was in his office at the Manila Police District Headquarters along U.N. Avenue when he was informed that a hostage-taking incident was taking place at the Quirino Grandstand. He was at the scene of the incident ten minutes later at 10:10 a.m.
Before 10:00 a.m. Police Chief Inspector (Major) Romeo B. Salvador was informed by the District Tactical Operations Center (DTOC) that there was an on-going hostage-taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand and that he was to inform Police Superintendent (Lt. Colonel) Orlando Yebra to act as the negotiator upon orders of Magtibay. He called Yebra and was instructed to go ahead to the scene of the incident and bring the throw phone and other negotiators’ equipment. He arrived at the Quirino Grandstand at around 10:00 a.m. and immediately coordinated with Magtibay at the Luneta Police Community Precinct (PCP) where Magtibay set up the Advanced Command Post (ACP). Salvador was assisted by PO2 Denison M. Rivera Jr.
At around 10:00 a.m., Police Chief Inspector (Major) Edgar A. Reyes, Chief of the District Mobile Unit of the MPD, monitored that there was an ongoing hostage incident in front of the Luneta Grandstand. He proceeded to Luneta and dispatched more mobile patrols to block the north and south portions fronting the Grandstand to prevent the bus from leaving the area.
Amansec noticed that mobile patrol cars started to come and increase in number around the vicinity. A policeman then approached her and told her to go with him to his superior. The police superior just took her name and cellular phone number. The police superior did not talk to her again. Amansec called Lubang and asked Mendoza if she could approach the bus to read what was posted on the bus windshield. Mendoza allowed her to approach the bus. Amansec told the police superior about her conversation with Mendoza but the police superior did not allow her to approach the bus.
At 10:00 a.m., then PNP Chief, Director General Jesus Versoza, was in his office at Camp Crame when he was informed of the hostage-taking incident. He immediately contacted the Director of the NCRPO, Police Director Leocadio Santiago Jr. and General Magtibay and told them to create the Crisis Management Committee. He also convened the Command Group and monitored at the National Operation Center to supervise and give assistance if necessary.
At 10:15 a.m., Police Superintendent (Lt. Col.) Nelson T. Yabut was at the DPSB office at MPD Headquarters when he was informed by the Duty Desk Officer of an on-going hostage-taking incident. He was directed by Col. Posadas to augment Police Station 5 for crowd control.
At around 10:30 a.m., Police Senior Superintendent (Colonel) Robert G. Po, Chief of the MPD District Directorial Staff, was ordered by Gen. Magtibay to inform Police Senior Superintendent (Colonel) Alex Gutierrez (Deputy District Director for Administration) and Police Senior Superintendent (Colonel) Fidel Posadas (Deputy District Director for Operations) to report to Magtibay at the Luneta PCP because of a hostage-taking incident. Magtibay thus activated the Crisis Management Task Group. He also designated Col. Yebra as Chief Negotiator and Major Salvador as Assistant Negotiator.
At past 10:00 a.m., Manila Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso was with Manila Mayor Alfred Lim in their regular department heads Monday meeting when Col. Alex Gutierrez who was at the meeting announced that there is an ongoing hostage-taking in front of the Grandstand involving foreigners. Mayor Lim immediately gave instructions to Col. Gutierrez to cordon off and proceed to the area. By that time, local and international media were calling City Hall for interview so the Vice Mayor called Magtibay and the General told him that the hostages were Hong Kong (Chinese) nationals and not Koreans and that the hostage-taker was a dismissed police officer, Captain Rolando Mendoza. Moreno was instructed by the Mayor to go ahead to the area and assess everything for any assistance that the City may give.
At around 10:30 a.m., a female member of the tour group, LI TSUI Fung-Kwan, wife of LI Yick-biu, who was seated at Seats 8CD raised her hand and said “Excuse me sir, I have upset stomach.” Mendoza ordered Chan to accompany LI TSUI to a comfort room and they were allowed to get off the bus. When they got off the bus, they were met by Amansec and they looked for a toilet. As they got off the bus, Mendoza told Chan “Sige baba na kayo, tumawag kayo sa NCRPO at tatawag din ako dun para ipaalam na hostage ko na itong bus nyo.” (Alright you get off, call NCRPO and I will also call them to tell them that I have taken this bus hostage.) When they went out of the toilet, Chan and Li were met by General Magtibay, whose name Amansec knew because of his nameplate, other policemen, and the media. Diana and LI TSUI still intended to go back to the bus but were stopped by the police. Diana just told them that LI TSUI’s husband LI Yick-biu was still in the bus. Magtibay asked Amansec how she was able to communicate with Mendoza and she said through the phone of Lubang whose number she gave to Magtibay.
Chan, LI TSUI, and Amansec were then brought to the Luneta Police Community Precinct (PCP) at the northern corner of Independence Avenue beside Manila Hotel. While at the holding area, not a single policeman talked to Amansec and the two released hostages (Chan and LI TSUI). Only the Red Cross personnel talked to them and asked for the names of the released hostages. LI TSUI told a Red Cross staff that his husband was sick and might need to take medicine. Chan and LI TSUI stayed there and Chan was able to assist six (6) tour group members released by Mendoza back to Manila Pavilion. Later in the afternoon, the Red Cross brought the released Chinese hostages to the Manila Pavilion. Aloysius Alvarez was the team leader of the Red Cross who brought the released hostages to the Pavilion.
Initial Contact and Demands
At around 11:00 a.m., Colonels Po and Posadas arrived at the Luneta PCP as instructed by Gen. Magtibay. Colonel Gutierrez was already there when they arrived.
Before 11:00 a.m., Major Salvador contacted Mendoza through the cell phone of Lubang. He introduced himself and Mendoza remembered him as a talking buddy while in floating status at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan. Mendoza allowed Salvador to approach the bus but told him to first remove his bullet proof vest. Major Salvador then approached the driver’s window and talked to Mendoza. Mendoza demanded that an Order be issued for his immediate reinstatement to the service. If the same was granted, Mendoza would immediately handcuff himself and surrender. He also said he had two grenades. He then told Salvador to copy what was written on the white cartolina paper on the windshield of the bus. While copying the contents of the paper, Salvador tested the thickness of the windshield and found it very thick. The contents of the paper were criminal case numbers and the names of Deputy Ombudsman Gonzales, Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, and Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. After copying the paper, Salvador went back to the driver’s window and offered Mendoza food and drinks for the hostages. Mendoza refused, saying the travel agency management has already ordered food for them and that he might be drugged.
At 11:00 a.m., while still talking to Mendoza, Salvador saw Col. Yebra waving at him from 50 meters away. He told Mendoza that Yebra has already arrived and that he was taking over as negotiator. Mendoza said “Ayoko sa kanya! Ikaw ang gusto kong kausap.” (I don’t want him! I want to deal with you.) Salvador told Mendoza that he will relay this to Yebra and then went to Yebra. Salvador told Yebra of Mendoza’s demands, weapons, attitude and refusal to talk to anyone but Salvador. Yebra called Mendoza through Lubang’s cellphone. Yebra asked Mendoza if he could approach the bus and talk to him and Mendoza agreed. When Salvador and Yebra reached the bus, the latter asked Mendoza “Rol ano ba ang problema?” (Rol what is the problem?) to which Mendoza replied “Sir, gusto ko lang ng order para maibalik ako sa serbisyo para matapos na ito, bababa na ako” (Sir, I just want an order reinstating me in the service so this will end and I will step down from here). Mendoza then handed a case folder on his dismissal to Yebra and told him to immediately deliver the same to Secretary Leila De Lima of the Department of Justice and for Secretary De Lima to personally call Yebra. Before they left, Lubang asked for a battery for his cellphone. They just gave him the cellphone of PO2 Denison Rivera. Salvador then gave the case folder to PO2 Rivera for delivery to Sec. De Lima. Yebra then relayed Mendoza’s demands to the crisis committee composed of Gen. Magtibay, Col. Posadas, Col. Gutierrez and Col. Po.
According to Lubang, it was around 12:30 p.m. when Major Salvador, who was wearing an orange shirt, approached the bus and talked to Mendoza through the driver’s window. Salvador asked “Bok ano ba nais mo at bakit ka nandito?” (Bok, what do you want and why are you here?). Mendoza replied “Bok yun lang kaso ko sa Ombudsman ang gusto kong madinig dito, wag kayong magalala, wala naman mangyayari pag nasunod ang mga gusto ko, pangako yan” (Bok the only thing I want known here is my Ombudsman case, don’t worry, nothing will happen if my demands are met, that’s a promise). Mendoza told Salvador to relay his demands written on the paper posted on the bus windshield. Salvador told Mendoza that he will just copy what was written on the paper and Mendoza gave him a pen and paper. Salvador then copied what was posted on the windshield then left. Lubang asked Mendoza who the man in orange shirt was. Mendoza replied that it was Major Salvador. After 15 minutes, Salvador returned this time with Col. Yebra who was wearing a white long sleeve shirt. Mendoza called Yebra “Sir” and Yebra said “Rol, ano ba ang problema? Baka puwede nating pag-usapan?” (Rol, what is the problem? Maybe we can talk about it?). Mendoza replied “Sige sir, baka puwedeng maipadala itong mga papeles ko sa Ombudsman at sa DOJ, kay Secretary De Lima, para mamaya lang ay malaman ko ang sagot” (Alright sir, maybe you can send these documents to the Ombudsman and to the DOJ, to Secretary De Lima, so that in just a while I will know the answer). Yebra replied “Sige padala natin. Baka puwede namang magpalabas ka diyan kahit dalawa?” (Alright we will send it. Maybe you can release a couple of hostages?). Mendoza said “Sige pag-iisipan ko sir, basta bigayan tayo” (Alright I will think about it sir as long as we make fair exchanges).
After the exchange, Salvador handed Mendoza’s documents to PO2 Rivera and ordered him to photocopy the same in two sets and deliver one set to Secretary De Lima. While having the documents photocopied, he was ordered back to the Luneta PCP. Rivera gave the documents to Magtibay. Vice Mayor Isko Moreno was there and told him that it would be better if the documents be brought to the Ombudsman instead of the Department of Justice since Mendoza’s case was an Ombudsman case. Magtibay then ordered Rivera again to photocopy the documents and deliver the same to the DOJ. After photocopying, he was called again to the PCP. He understood the order to mean not to deliver the documents to DOJ anymore. At the PCP, Isko Moreno got one copy and the original was kept by Rivera.
At around 11:00 a.m., Mendoza called three children and a female adult hostage and let them get off the bus. Mrs. FU TSANG Yee-lai told Mendoza in English that her two children were feeling unwell. Mendoza told her to get off with her two children. At this point, a tour member asked Mrs. FU to take along Mrs. WONG’s son, WONG Ching-yat. Mendoza did not object and Mrs. FU and the three children got off the bus. (Note: CHAN Kwok-chu’s recollection put Mrs. FU’s release after that of LI Yick-biu). Amansec, Chan and Li were at the PCP when the four released hostages arrived.
Salvador saw Yebra approaching the bus and he followed him. Mendoza released four hostages and the negotiators accompanied them to the Control Center located at the Quirino Grandstand. (This hostage release was recounted in the sworn statement of Salvador as having taken place at 12:00 p.m.)
At this point, Mendoza noticed that CHAN Kwok-chu and YIK Siu-ling were sitting together. He ordered YIK Siu-ling to transfer back to the third row right side in front (Seats 3CD) and told Egor Cruz to sit beside CHAN. While Egor sat beside CHAN, the latter noticed that he was sending and receiving several messages on his cellular phone.
At around 11:30 a.m., while at the holding area for released hostages at the Luneta PCP, Amansec went to Magtibay who was inside a room at the PCP and told him that she will be sending food and water to the hostages. Magtibay replied that it will be allowed but it had to wait. Amansec had someone get the food and water at once.
Before 12:00 p.m., Salvador was approached by a man who introduced himself as Roberto Agojo, an adviser and co-godparent (kumpare) of Mendoza who requested that he be allowed to approach the bus and talk to Mendoza. Salvador denied his request.
At 12:00, at the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Police Superintendent (Colonel) Remus B. Medina, Chief of the Regional Police Intelligence and Operations Unit of the NCRPO, was instructed by Police Director (General) Leocadio SC Santiago Jr., NCRPO Chief, to proceed to Malacanang Palace and to report to DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno to give the President a briefing and update on the ongoing hostage-taking incident.
At around noontime, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno arrived at the Quirino Grandstand and met with Magtibay and Yebra. Moreno recalls that they told him that the hostage-taker wanted a review of his case with the Ombudsman. Mendoza was dismissed from the police service by the Ombudsman and moved for a reconsideration of said dismissal which was pending with the Ombudsman. Magtibay said he intends to talk with Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro about Mendoza’s demand so Moreno volunteered to go to the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City about 15 km. from Luneta so as not to diminish the presence of police officials at the crisis area.
At around 12:30 p.m., Mendoza went down the stairs of the bus and looked angry. He complained about what he heard on the radio regarding the false allegations in the “shabu-swallowing” case against him where he and his men allegedly forced a chef to swallow shabu which in turn became the basis for the filing of administrative and criminal complaints against him. Mendoza demanded for a reporter and cameraman. The negotiators agreed to this in exchange for one of the hostages who was a diabetic (LI Yik-biu). Mendoza said he will think about it. He later released the diabetic hostage at
At 12:37 p.m., Yebra and Salvador were at the side of the bus talking to Mendoza when Vice Mayor Isko Moreno called Yebra informing him that he was on his way to the Ombudsman. Moreno talked with Mendoza who thanked the Vice Mayor. Yebra and Salvador said that Mendoza’s documents have already been sent and that it was Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno himself who was bringing them. Mendoza said “Pakibilisan lamang sir” (Just be quick sir). Yebra then handed a cellular phone to Mendoza and told him to talk to the Vice Mayor. Mendoza took the phone and talked to the Vice Mayor saying “Yes sir” then returned the phone to Yebra.
At 12:30 p.m., the wife of Mendoza came to the house of Melecia Gonzales together with Mendoza’s brother, Florencio. Mendoza’s wife asked her if she could drive them to Luneta in Manila. She acceded and they left for Manila.
The food that Amansec ordered arrived at 12:57 p.m. at the Luneta PCP.
At around 1:00 p.m., Col. Medina arrived at Malacanang from the NCRPO and reported to Undersecretary Rico Puno. He then briefed the President on the hostage-taking. During the briefing, the President ordered him that in case of an assault on the bus, the PNP Special Action Force Crisis Response Group (SAF-CRG) be used and that one ambulance per hostage should be readied. Medina sent General Santiago text messages regarding the President’s orders and later called him again to repeat the orders of the President. Later, while he was still in the meeting with the President monitoring the hostage-taking on TV, General Magtibay called and Medina relayed to him the orders of the President to use the SAF-CRG in case of an assault on the bus. Magtibay said “Oo” (Yes) three times.
At past 1:00 p.m., Magtibay got in touch for the first time with Mayor Alfredo Lim as head of the Crisis Management Committee and was given instructions. At 1:30 p.m., Mayor Lim also got a call from the President asking how the negotiations are doing and was instructed to make sure that the hostages are safe.
Between 1:40 and 1:45 p.m., reporter Erwin Tulfo arrived with a cameraman and went inside the cordoned area. The negotiators approached him and he said that he heard that Mendoza was demanding for a reporter. They told him that Mendoza wanted a female reporter. Salvador also stated that the food for the hostages was delivered around this time. A van containing some food approached the hostage bus. Salvador handed out the food to the bus. The hostages then started to eat. Mendoza did not eat. Lubang recalled that Mendoza did not want to eat because he might make a mess inside the bus.
Lubang noted that Mendoza posted white papers on the windows of the bus with the notes “3:00 Dead LOCK” and “MEDIA NOW”. Mendoza told him he wanted the media immediately so he can now voice out what he wanted.
CHAN Kwok-chu recalled that the food arrived at 2:30 p.m. Nebril distributed the food and beverages to the tour members. At this point Mendoza took off his jacket and CHAN noticed that he was carrying a pistol on his right flank and a one-foot long army knife on his left. CHAN further recalled some seating arrangements of the hostages. He was seated on Seats 10CD. LEE Ying-chuen sat on 9CD directly in front of him. LO Kam-fun sat on 10AB across the aisle from CHAN. LEUNG Kam-wing sat on 9AB. LEUNG Song-xue Jason sat on 8AB. CHAN remembered WONG Tze-lam and FU Cheuk-yan seated in front of LEUNG Song-xue Jason but cannot tell exactly where. He later determined that FU was seated at either 3AB or 4AB.
Shortly after the meal, Mendoza gave his phone to a female tour member in front who answered in Putonghua. CHAN heard her say “Understand” and “Got it”. Later, the tour members in front said that transport would be available at 3:00 p.m. to pick up the hostages. The atmosphere remained tranquil. CHAN discussed with TSE Ting-chunn Masa, who was then still seated behind him at Seats 11CD, the possibility of fleeing through the emergency exit located between their seats but gave up the idea to avoid harm to other hostages if they escape.
Third and Fourth Releases
At 2:00 p.m., Lubang got a call on his cellular phone from Yebra who told him to hand over his phone to Mendoza. Lubang just heard Mendoza say “Yes sir”. Mendoza then returned the phone to Lubang. After several minutes, Mendoza called an old male hostage (LI Yick-biu) and let him get off the bus, asking “Diabetic? Who’s diabetic?” LI stood up. Mendoza waved at LI and signaled him to go to the front and took him to the door. However, LI left his handbag and asked Mendoza if LI can get his bag. LI got his bag and Mendoza then led LI again to the entrance of the bus, put his hand on LI’s shoulder and waved to Yebra signaling him to take LI off the bus. The elderly Ms. LAW Kam-fun also got up to follow and help LI Yick-biu but Mendoza shouted and waved his hand telling her to go back to her seat. After the elderly LI got off the bus, Mendoza smiled saying that now they might send him a reporter and Lubang will be famous. (Note: Salvador estimated the release to have taken place at 1:40 p.m.)
At around 2:00 p.m., Vice Mayor Isko Moreno left for the Ombudsman to relay the demand of Mendoza regarding his Motion for Reconsideration pending with said office.
At 2:16 p.m., Amansec got a text from Lubang asking for diesel for the bus. She went to Magtibay and showed her the text message and Magtibay ordered diesel fuel to be brought to the bus. Amansec then sent a text message to Lubang that the diesel fuel was on the way. This request for diesel fuel was recounted by Salvador to have taken place at
1:50 p.m. Yebra asked for another hostage in exchange for the diesel. Mendoza replied that he will think about it. After several minutes again, Mendoza called Rigor (Egor Cruz) to the front and let him get off the bus also.
People from the British Embassy, the Hong Kong press, the Department of Tourism descended upon the holding area. British Embassy people asked if there were British citizens among the hostages. Upon learning that there were indeed British citizens, the Red Cross accompanied them to the Manila Pavilion.
At 2:30 p.m., PNP Chief Jesus Versoza left Manila for Cagayan de Oro City to attend a multi-sector forum and to meet with the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee. With him was the 3rd in rank, Police Deputy General for Operations Bacalzo. The 2nd in rank, Police Deputy Director General Perfecto Palad was in La Union. The 4th in rank in the PNP hierarchy, Police Deputy General Benjamin Belarmino, Jr., was left at the National Operation Center.
After the request for diesel fuel was made, Salvador felt dizzy and went to an ambulance to have his blood pressure checked. He was then informed that a man, who later turned out to be SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, was approaching the bus. He ran after Gregorio and stopped him. Gregorio said he was going to his brother. He said he was the only one who can persuade his brother to surrender. Salvador noticed a bulk on his right waist and told him that he was carrying a firearm and Gregorio replied that he was a policeman. Salvador then disarmed him. Mendoza shouted from the bus “Kapatid ko yan! Bakit mo kinuha ang baril niya e pulis yan!” (That’s my brother! Why did you take his gun when he’s a policeman!). Salvador replied “Ah kapatid mo siya, bok wala pang clearance! Pag meron na samahan ko siya dito uli!” (He’s your brother but he has no clearance yet. When he has one I will come back here with him.) Mendoza replied “Sige bok, basta ibalik mo ang baril niya dahil pulis din yan” (Alright, just return his gun because he is also a policeman.) It was past 2:00 p.m. when Salvador turned over Gregorio and his gun to the Crisis Committee. He then went to get a working throw phone and placed it on the bus.
Lubang recounted that it was at past 3:00 p.m. when Gregorio approached the bus and Mendoza told Lubang that the man walking towards them was his brother. Mendoza told Lubang to call Gregorio and the latter approached the bus with Salvador and another uniformed policeman. Mendoza told Salvador that Gregorio was his brother and that he was also a policeman. Salvador replied that he didn’t know who Gregorio was. Mendoza was not able to talk to Gregorio because he just returned to the police post with Salvador.
At 2:30 p.m., the diesel fuel arrived and Salvador refueled the bus. He again tested the thickness of the glass. At 3:00 p.m., Mendoza called the negotiators and demanded for a lady reporter and a cameraman. Yebra asked if Mendoza had any particular reporter in mind. Mendoza replied that he wanted Susan Enriquez of GMA 7. The two then went to the Crisis Committee and relayed the demand for a lady reporter and cameraman. Yebra recalled it was at this point when Mendoza’s demand for a reporter was denied that he first attempted a warning shot but his rifle jammed.
Calls from the Ombudsman
At the Ombudsman, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno met with Tanodbayan (Ombudsman) Merceditas Gutierrez, Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Mark Jalandoni, Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Agencies Emilio Gonzales III, and Special Prosecutor Wendell Sulit. During their meeting, Moreno called Yebra.
Salvador and Yebra were at the driver’s side of the bus when Moreno called asking if he could talk to Mendoza.
The Vice Mayor told Mendoza that he was already at the Ombudsman and asked him if there is anyone he wanted to talk to at the Ombudsman. Mendoza was very thankful to Moreno and requested if he could talk to a certain Director Gonzales of the Ombudsman. Mendoza talked with Deputy Ombudsman Gonzales and Salvador overheard Mendoza shouting and uttering invectives “Putang ina mo, humihingi ka pa ng P150,000 para sa kaso ko, kung may mamamatay dito kasalanan mo lahat!” (You son of a bitch, you are asking for P150,000 for my case, if anyone dies here it’s all your fault!). Moreno overheard Gonzalez say “O wala akong alam diyan” (I don’t know anything about that). Mendoza then talked with Tanodbayan (Ombudsman) Gutierrez who assured him that they will review his case. Mendoza’s voice mellowed and said “Mam salamat po, antayin ko na lang ang Order dito” (Mam thank you, I will just wait for the Order here). Moreno then asked Mendoza for the release of five hostages. Mendoza said he will think about it. After the conversation, Mendoza asked for food and water again.
Past the 3:00 deadline, Mendoza was at the back of the bus talking to his brother and telling him that he wanted the media.
The letter to Mendoza was drafted on paper in front of the group meeting at the Ombudsman. The unwritten agreement was for Mendoza’s case to be reviewed by the Ombudsman in ten days. Moreno’s travel and the Ombudsman meeting took three hours.
Melecia Gonzales arrived at Luneta with Mendoza’s wife at around 3:00 p.m. Once in Luneta near the Grandstand, Gonzales texted Mendoza that Agojo was working things out with the police. She then waved to Mendoza inside the bus.
Food was delivered for the second time at 3:30 p.m. CHAN Kwok-chu recalled that it was around the time when the food was delivered that Nebril was released from the bus by Mendoza.
At around or before 4:00 p.m., Mendoza called Nebril “Bumaba ka na, tawag ka ni General.” (You go down now. The General is asking for you.) and let him get off the bus (Note: Salvador’s account put Nebril’s release at 4:30 p.m.). Nebril was supposed to have been among the hostages released earlier but refused telling Mendoza “Trabaho lang po sir, binabantayan ko ang mga guests ko po.” (It’s just my job sir to look after my guests.) to which Mendoza replied “Matigas ka” (You are bold). Two policemen escorted him to the back of the Grandstand and they took a mobile patrol to the PCP where he was questioned and investigated by the police. He was also interviewed by Susan Enriquez. Amansec claims that not a single policeman interviewed or asked questions from Nebril while he was at the holding area.
At the Ombudsman, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno learned that a hostage was released so he asked Yebra if he could talk with Mendoza again. Moreno told Mendoza “Pare thank you ha kaya lang ang hina ko sa iyo, eh, lima ang hinihingi ko, isa lang ang binigay mo. Huwag ka lang mag-alala, we are now tackling your issue.” (Buddy thank you but it appears I am not in your good grace, I was asking for five you gave me only one. Do not worry we are now tackling your issue.). Mendoza replied in a polite manner.
At 4:22 p.m., Lubang texted Amansec saying that Mendoza was requesting for a female reporter. Amansec showed the text message to Magtibay and Magtibay called Susan Enriquez of GMA 7. Between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m., Yebra called Mendoza and told him that his request for a lady reporter and cameraman was approved on the condition that the interview will be conducted with the reporter outside the bus. Mendoza refused the condition since he wanted the interview conducted inside the bus. Yebra told Mendoza that if he insists in his demand, clearance has to be acquired from the Crisis Committee. No reply was heard by the negotiators from Mendoza.
Magtibay did not want Enriquez to go to the bus so he asked Amansec to call Lubang’s phone and Enriquez talked with the hostage-taker for about twenty (20) minutes. Magtibay then told Enriquez to leave the PCP without asking her what she and Mendoza talked about over the phone.
At around 5:00 p.m., Col. Medina was told by the President that they will just see each other later. He then left Malacanang and proceeded to the MPD Headquarters with Usec. Puno at 5:30 p.m. They arrived at MPD at 5:45 and met Gen. Santiago who ordered Medina to proceed to Quirino Grandstand to link up with the SAF team consisting of 16 men including snipers which was already deployed at the southern end of the Grandstand at 5:30 p.m. upon the orders of Gen. Santiago.
At around past 5:00 p.m., Mendoza talked to someone over the phone whom he called “’Tol” (brother). Mendoza was then positioned at the other end of the bus and Lubang could only hear him say “’Tol ‘wag kang papayag ‘tol” (Brother don’t agree to them).
At 5:10 p.m., Mayor Lim also arrived at the Luneta PCP for the first time that day. He saw Gregorio and asked him why his brother hostaged a bus. Gregorio replied that what happened to Mendoza was wrong, that he was dismissed even when there was a motion for reconsideration. Lim asked why they did not write to the Ombudsman. Gregorio replied that the Ombudsman is in hot water so they agreed to come out with it already.
He continued that what they wanted was the vindication of his name and the restoration of his honor and to see to it that reinstatement is made.
Vice Mayor Isko Moreno arrived at the Luneta PCP from the Ombudsman between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. He saw Mayor Lim with the police generals and officials and handed the letter to him. The letter to Mendoza from the Ombudsman was read in the presence of Gregorio and he was asked if the letter will help Mendoza and is the means for his situation to improve. Gregorio said yes. The negotiators then proceeded with Gregorio to the bus.
Lubang recalled that before 6:00 p.m. Mendoza called the tour group leader (TSE Ting-chunn Masa) who was seated at the back of the bus to the front and handcuffed him to the handlebar of the refrigerator near the door of the bus. According to CHAN, Mendoza pointed at TSE Ting-chunn Masa who was seating behind CHAN at Seats
11CD and signaled him to go to the front near the door of the bus.
At 6:03 p.m., Michael Rogas of Radio Mo Network (RMN) started his live interview with Mendoza. In the interview Mendoza expressed hope on the outcome of the Ombudsman negotiations of the Vice Mayor, expecting a reversal of his dismissal. He also expressed reservations on releasing the hostages if the decision of the Ombudsman is not in his favor. He then recited the facts of his administrative case live on radio.
At 6:12 p.m., Mendoza announced live on air over RMN the approach of the negotiators and Gregorio and handed over the phone to Lubang. Rogas talked to Lubang and listened in on the conversation at the other end of the line as his broadcast continued. At 6:14 p.m., Yebra handed the Ombudsman letter to Mendoza and the latter started to read its contents over live radio at the request of Rogas. After reading the letter, Mendoza said that the letter was garbage and that what he needed was a decision reversing or sustaining the decision, and that he would have even preferred a decision dismissing his reconsideration rather than a letter promising another delay in the resolution of his case. All the while that Mendoza was talking to Yebra, Rogas kept on calling his attention to continue their live interview in the middle of the hostage negotiations. Mendoza then threatened to make an example out of one of the hostages and told people to step aside. Rogas continued his live interview asking Mendoza questions for five minutes as the negotiators waited outside for him to finish. Yebra then asked if it is alright with Mendoza if his dismissal is recalled and Mendoza is reinstated, pending the resolution of his motion for reconsideration with the Ombudsman. Mendoza said “Alright, alright”. Yebra asked if the hostage-taking will then end, Mendoza said they will talk again. At 6:20, Mendoza fired a shot.
At 6:17 p.m., Salvador saw Gregorio and Yebra approach the bus so he ran to join them. When they reached the driver’s window of the bus, Yebra handed a brown envelope to Mendoza. Mendoza was talking on the phone when he opened and read the contents of the envelope. Mendoza then said “Basura yan sir! Niloloko nyo lang ako! Hindi ito ang hinahanap ko, Order and kailangan ko!” (That is garbage sir! You are just fooling me! This is not what I am looking for, what I need is an Order!). Mendoza returned the envelope to Yebra who proposed “What if mapapayag ko ang boss ko sa PNP giving an Order temporarily suspending the implementation of your dismissal [and] reinstating you to police service, matatapos na ba ito? Titigilan na ba natin ito?” (What if I am able to convince my boss in the PNP to give an Order temporarily suspending the implementation of your dismissal [and] reinstating you to police service, will this end? Will we put an end to this?). Mendoza’s reply was “Sige pag-usapan natin uli mamaya” (Alright let’s talk about it again later). They were about to leave when Gregorio told Mendoza “’Tol, hindi pa nito ibinabalik ang baril ko” (Brother, this one has not returned my gun yet) while pointing at Salvador. Mendoza told Salvador “Bakit hindi mo pa ibinabalik ang baril niya, ibalik mo na!” (Why haven’t you returned his gun yet, you return it now!). Yebra replied that Mendoza’s gun was at the ACP and that it would be returned once the hostage-taking is over. Gregorio told Mendoza “’Tol pag hindi ibinalik and baril ko, wag ka ng pumayag sa usapan!” (Brother if they do not return my gun, do not abide by the agreement!)
Yebra then pulled Gregorio and said “Halika na nga” (Let’s go now). Salvador looked back and saw Mendoza aiming his rifle at Salvador and said “Putang ina mo!” (You son of a bitch!). Mendoza fired a shot and Yebra said it was just a warning shot. Salvador said the shot was directed at him and it just missed. As they walked back to the negotiators’ post, Yebra asked Gregorio “Bakit mo ginawa yun, inuuna mo pa baril mo, ang sabi mo makakatulong ka, yun pala ikaw ang magpapagulo.” (Why did you do that, your first concern is for your gun, you told us you can help, instead you are the one to mess this up.).
At past 6:00 p.m., Lubang saw Yebra, Salvador and Gregorio approach the bus with Yebra carrying an envelope. Yebra handed the envelope to Lubang who in turn handed it over to Mendoza who was talking to someone over the phone. Mendoza handed the phone to Lubang who talked on the phone with someone whom he thought was Mike Enriquez of GMA 7. Mendoza then read the letter to the person on the phone. Mendoza then handed the letter back to Lubang which he in turn handed back to Yebra. Mendoza then told Yebra “Hindi ‘yan ang kailangan ko. Hindi ito ang hiling ko. Basura ‘yan, basura. Wala naman dyan ang gusto kong desisyon eh. Ibalik nyo yan doon” (That is not what I need. This is not what I asked for. That is garbage. The Decision that I want is not there. You return it). Yebra and Salvador then tried to explain but Mendoza sternly rebuffed them. Gregorio then told Mendoza “’Tol yun baril ko di pa rin binibigay” (Brother they did not return my gun yet). Mendoza got angry and said “Sinungaling talaga kayo! Ayaw ko na kayong kausap. Lumayas kayo sa harap ko!” (You are really liars! I do not want to talk to you anymore! You get out of my sight!). Yebra and Salvador just walked away from the bus with Gregorio. Mendoza then brought the barrel of his long firearm outside the driver’s window and fired a shot at the three as they walked away.
CHAN Kwok-chu recalled that he saw three men negotiating with Mendoza. At that time the atmosphere was completely different. Mendoza’s voice was getting louder in a very angry tone. He seemed to have told the negotiators to go away and kept on shouting then raised his rifle and fired a shot through the driver’s window. The atmosphere inside the bus was suddenly getting tense.
Decisions and Departures
At around 6:30 p.m., Colonel Po was outside the PCP when he heard Col. Yebra berating someone so he went inside the PCP. He discovered that Col. Yebra was angry at Gregorio.
When the negotiators and Gregorio returned to the PCP, Yebra told the Mayor, Vice Mayor, Magtibay and the other police officials present that Gregorio told Mendoza “’Tol di pa nila binabalik ang baril ko. Kapag di nila binalik huwag kang pumayag sa usapan.” (Brother they did not return my gun yet. If they do not return it do not abide by your agreement.). He continued that when a shot was fired, Yebra told Salvador that it was just a warning shot. Salvador disagreed and told him he was in the line of fire. Yebra told Magtibay that Gregorio was a conspirator. Yebra recommended that Gregorio be charged and arrested for being an accessory to the crime. Gregorio said that the letter had no value and that what they wanted was immediate reinstatement. Yebra explained to him that review was the first step to reinstatement. Mayor Lim then said “Posasan nyo na yan” (Handcuff him) but there were no handcuffs around. Salvador recounted further that Mayor Lim said “Dapat pala diyan posasan na. Padala na yan sa Headquarters para maimbestigahan.” (He should already be put in handcuffs. Bring him to Headquarters for investigation.).
Magtibay instructed Col. Po to produce handcuffs and to put policemen on stand by to take Gregorio to the MPD. Col. Po went out to look for handcuffs and instructed Police Chief Inspector (Major) Oliver Navales to be on stand by with policemen and a patrol car to take Gregorio to the MPD.
Mayor Lim, Police Chief Superintendent (General) Harold Ubalde, Col. Posadas, Col. Gutierrez, Gen. Magtibay and Col. Yebra then went to a separate room (kitchen) of the PCP and held a meeting. Yebra was suggesting that the reinstatement order be issued by the NCRPO. Gen. Ubalde opposed it saying it would lead to complications and serve as a dangerous precedent. Ubalde said he would refer it to higher authorities. Magtibay recalled Lim saying that Gregorio be “brought instead to Tondo”, the police force’s euphemism for summary execution. In the other room, Isko Moreno approached Gregorio and asked him “Bakit naman ganoon ang nangyari, sayang naman yun pagod natin” (Why did that happen, our efforts were in vain). Gregorio just stayed silent. When Lim and the police officials went out of the meeting, the handcuffs arrived but Lim told them not to handcuff Gregorio anymore but to just take him to the MPD Headquarters. Returning with handcuffs, Po was told by Magtibay that Gregorio need not be handcuffed anymore.
Mayor Lim then left for Emerald Restaurant at 6:45 p.m. because he didn’t have lunch yet and it looked like the crisis will last until dawn so they will just exhaust Mendoza until he gives up. He said “Waiting game na lang ito. Maghintay na lang tayo. Baka kapag napagod yan, napuyat, mag-give way na.” (This is already just a waiting game. Let’s just wait. Maybe if he gets tired, lacks sleep, he will just give way.) He also intended to turn Emerald into the Command Post while eating and because it was the nearest place to set up a Command Post other than the PCP. He also instructed Magtibay to go with him. Magtibay left for Emerald before 7:00 p.m. At Emerald, Mayor Lim also invited Gen. Santiago and Usec. Puno to join them.
At around 6:20 p.m., Col. Medina arrived at the Grandstand directly from MPD Headquarters and looked for Magtibay. He was told that Magtibay was already at Emerald Restaurant with Mayor Lim. He then proceeded to Emerald where he was briefed by Gen. Santiago and proceeded back to the Grandstand before 7:00 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m., Rogas continues his live interview with Mendoza. Mendoza said he no longer wants to deal with Yebra because he is a liar and he lied about returning his brother’s gun. He demanded a change of negotiators. He also said the shot he fired was a warning shot at Yebra. He then threatened to kill TSE Ting-chunn who was handcuffed near the door if the negotiations do not progress.
At 7:07 p.m., Rogas’ live interview resumed and Mendoza threatened that he will end everything if no negotiator shows up. At this point, Mendoza said his disposition and his thinking are already changing. He was then interviewed by Atty. Ed Araullo who affirmed Mendoza’s opinion on the Ombudsman letter. Mendoza expressed frustration that there is no justice anymore. It was also at this point that Erwin Tulfo of RMN who was at the scene told Mendoza that he was going to the bus after being cleared to interview him with a camera. Mendoza then let him interview YEUNG Yee-wa whose 15 year old daughter was still in the bus.
Salvador stated that Magtibay ordered Gregorio to be escorted to MPD Headquarters via the back door to evade the media. He also saw Gregorio being escorted by policemen via the backdoor.
Gregorio was escorted through the side exit of the PCP by Col. Po and handed over to Major Navales but he immediately ran towards the front of the PCP where the media were camped out, sat on the pavement and started shouting. This drew the attention of the media who converged around him. Salvador heard Gregorio shout “Papatayin nila ako! Papatayin nila ako! Hindi ako accessory!” (They will kill me! They will kill me! I am not an accessory!). He was lying on the floor while his police escorts just looked on and told him to stand up because it was embarrassing. After a while Col. Po, together with some policemen, tried to pacify Gregorio and stand him up. However, his brother, son and daughter were clinging to him. Col. Po then explained to the media why he was being brought to the MPD. He then asked the media to stop covering the scene being made by Gregorio but the media kept on covering the scene until Gregorio was carried to a police car. The GMA News 7’s live coverage showed Susan Enriquez interviewing Gregorio as he sat on the pavement crying out that he is not an accessory, as he was being shielded by relatives, and as he was bodily carried by policemen to the police car. The coverage did not stop until the firing of several shots in intervals was heard from the bus more than a hundred meters away.
By that time Mayor Lim has already left the PCP for Emerald Restaurant. Isko Moreno saw special forces with sniper rifles come out behind Manila Hotel and decided to leave believing the crisis has now become a police matter. He proceeded to Manila Pavilion and sat at a bar and had coffee while watching on television ANC Channel’s coverage of Gregorio’s scene before the media, his arrest, and the assault on the bus.
Yebra still tried to contact Mendoza but he was not answering the throw phone and his cellphone was busy. Salvador also noticed Erwin Tulfo talking on the phone while looking at the bus.
Inside the bus, CHAN Kwok-chu recalled that Mendoza kept on talking to someone over the phone. He was angry at some points. Mendoza told Lubang to turn on the bus television and they saw Gregorio being arrested. Suddenly, he spoke loudly and firmly on the phone “5 minutes” then hung up. At this point, LEUNG Kam-wing seated on Seats 9AB told CHAN “In case anything goes wrong, we take the opportunity and go forward to subdue the gunman.” After a while, Mendoza, who was still talking over the phone, spoke very loudly and angrily while walking from the front to the rear of the vehicle. He was gripping his rifle butt in his right hand with the index finger on the trigger. Mendoza then sat down at the last row directly behind CHAN still talking on the phone in an angry tone.
At 7:15 p.m., Mendoza was already witnessing on the bus television GMA News 7’s coverage of the arrest of Gregorio. He was asking Michael Rogas, still over the live radio broadcast of RMN, why they are arresting Gregorio. He said that Gregorio is not an accessory since he alone was responsible for the hostage-taking. He said that if the police do not stop he will kill one of the hostages. He repeated his threat to kill the hostage who was in front of the bus. Lubang heard Mendoza talking to someone over the phone and shouting “Pakawalan nyo ang kapatid ko. Walang kinalaman yan! Pag hindi nyo pinakawalan yan ay papatayin ko na ‘to lahat!” (Release my brother. He is innocent! If you do not release him I will kill all of these!).
Killing the Hostages
At 7:20 p.m., still live over RMN, Mendoza was already on the verge of killing the hostage at the front section of the bus, shouting that he is already about to shoot. He threatened that if the police mobile carrying Gregorio leaves, he will shoot the hostage at the front of the bus. Rogas told him he is being heard live and that his message will be relayed to the police. A police car siren sounded in the background and shots rang out. There was screaming and crying. After a few seconds, the screaming and crying stopped as shots continued to be heard. The shooting came in single shot intervals and lasted for several seconds. Mendoza was then overheard instructing Lubang to drive the bus to the right. Lubang said something and Mendoza replied that he was also going to die there if he did not move the bus. Lubang was then heard pleading for his life and that he be released. At 7:29 p.m. over RMN, Lubang was reported seen running from the bus. Mendoza still warned the police on air to let someone go because he was innocent and that he is the only one responsible. Otherwise, he threatened to kill more hostages after the two he claimed he already killed. After lying live over radio about the number of hostages he already killed, Mendoza went off air at 7:30 p.m.
CHAN Kwok-chu recalled that Mendoza walked from the rear of the bus to the front returning to his position between Lubang and Masa. Then Mendoza threw away his phone with his left hand with a lot of force, raised the rifle in his right hand, and fired a shot at TSE Ting-chunn Masa. Then he pointed the rifle at YIK Siu-ling, CHAN’s girlfriend who was seated at Seats 3CD, and fired a shot. At the same time, FU Cheuk-yan and LEUNG Kam-wing threw themselves at Mendoza. CHAN followed suit. FU Cheuk-yan got close to Mendoza, pushed up the rifle’s muzzle and shouted “No!” Mendoza immediately moved one step backward and fired two shots at FU Cheuk-yan hitting him on the chest and abdomen. FU fell down immediately. Mendoza then instantly fired a shot at LEUNG Kam-wing who was still rushing forward at him. LEUNG was hit on the chest and also fell down immediately. CHAN retreated back to his seat at the back of the bus.
After shooting FU and LEUNG, Mendoza walked towards the rear of the bus. As he walked, he continued shooting the hostages on the left and right side of the bus at close range until he reached the rear. Finally reaching CHAN, Mendoza pointed the muzzle of his rifle at CHAN’s head. Out of reflex, CHAN lifted his bag with both hands and covered his face. Mendoza fired at him hitting his bag and hands. CHAN’s bag fell and flesh from his hands were torn off. CHAN fell on his seat and pressed his right hand with his left because the right hand was bleeding profusely. At this point Mendoza paid no more attention to CHAN. In total, CHAN heard Mendoza fire over fifteen (15) shots using only his rifle, shooting from a distance as close as two to three feet and as far as five to six feet. He was the last one inside the bus to be shot by Mendoza.
Lubang heard a shot from inside the bus and the tour leader handcuffed to the handle bar of the refrigerator fell down near the door of the bus. Lubang then saw Mendoza fire his long firearm at the hostages through the driver’s rear view mirror. When he turned his head to look at the back of the bus, he saw bodies which fell to the floor of the bus as Mendoza continued firing at the rest of the hostages one by one, left and right of the aisle, pointing his long firearm at the hostages and firing at single shot intervals.
After he finished shooting the hostages, Mendoza then stopped in the middle of the aisle between the 6th row of seats (between 6AB and 6CD) and assumed a crouching position while holding his long firearm pointed at the front of the bus. Mendoza then told Lubang to move the bus forward. Lubang moved the bus but the tires went flat and he was barely able to maneuver because the steering got heavy and he still had his left hand handcuffed to the steering wheel. Lubang pleaded to Mendoza to let him go and Mendoza told him that it was up to him to leave.
Lubang then tried to unlock the handcuffs by forcing a nail file to the keyhole of the handcuff until he finally succeeded. He then dropped from the driver’s window and ran away from the bus as policemen waited for him and brought him to a holding area. Lubang told the people there “Patay na sila lahat!” (They are all dead!). The people at the holding area were from the Red Cross, DSWD, the police, and Amansec.
PO3 Cesario Martin, PO2 Leo Sabete, and PO1 Alfredo Terrado Jr. composed the sniper team of the MPD SWAT deployed at the grandstand. At past 7:00 p.m., they heard successive gunshots coming from the bus. When the bus started to move after the shots, they fired at the right front and rear wheels of the bus. They then saw a man running away from the bus.
Upon being informed of Lubang’s escape while still at Emerald Restaurant, Magtibay went back to the Luneta PCP. At that time, Magtibay was also about to return to the PCP to hand over to Yebra the letter from Gen. Santiago reinstating Mendoza into the service. However, according to the account of Mayor Lim, they were still going over the letter at Emerald and the same was sent from Emerald to Magtibay through motorcycle and he received it at the Grandstand during the assault.
Salvador recalled that numerous shots were heard and then saw Lubang running away from the bus. Lubang was heard by the media say “Patay na, patay na silang lahat” (They are dead, they are all dead). The negotiators kept on contacting Mendoza until 8:00 p.m. for renegotiations to no avail.
Amansec recalled that there was a shot and members of the media started to run around and crowd around the holding area. Lubang arrived with a policeman, shaken and exhausted. He sat down beside Amansec and the policeman asked him if there were hostages still alive. He said “Patay na lahat!” (They are all dead!). The policeman then left without asking Lubang other questions. Amansec then asked Lubang if he was sure that all the hostages were already dead. Lubang said “Yes mam, noong lumundag ako nakabaril na siya” (Yes mam, when I jumped he already finished firing his gun). Nobody else approached Lubang to ask him questions except for the Red Cross who took his blood pressure. They then heard successive gunfire. All throughout, there were no longer any police officials at the PCP which was already closed even before Lubang escaped.
A police officer approached Col. Po and informed him that the bus driver escaped from the bus. However, Po was not able to talk to Lubang because he was being interviewed by medical people and other persons. He just returned to the PCP and waited for Lubang to be brought inside. When Lubang was brought to him, Po asked Lubang how he escaped and how Mendoza killed the hostages. He then went out to look for Police Chief Inspector (Major) Santiago Pascual, head of the SWAT assault team.
At 7:30 p.m., Police Inspector (Lieutenant) Marlon A. Ursua and SPO2 Bertito D. Pineda of UN Ave. Station 5 Investigation and Operation Division were ordered by Police Superintendent (Lieutenant Colonel) Frumencio Bernal to go to the Luneta PCP to investigate someone. At the PCP, they were met by Police Chief Inspector (Major) Rizalino Picayo who told them to investigate Lubang.
Col. Po found Major Pascual and asked him if he heard shots being fired at the bus. Pascual said yes and that Magtibay has just ordered him to initiate the assault on the bus.
The assault on the bus started upon the orders of Magtibay after being informed that Lubang has escaped and told the police that Mendoza has started shooting the hostages. Magtibay did not verify the statement of Lubang since they already heard several gunshots coming from the bus.
The members of the MPD SWAT assault team were Police Chief Inspector (Major) Santiago Pascual as over-all commander, SPO2 Bernardo Espinosa as leader of Team 1, SPO4 Reynaldo Antonio as leader of Team 2, and SPO3 Alfonso Gameng Jr. as leader of Team 3. There was also a sniper team deployed consisting of three members. Police Superintendent (Lt. Colonel) Remus Medina and his PNP Special Action Force (SAF) team also participated in the assault.
The assault was launched at 7:35 p.m. With a signal from the Command Group, Teams
1, 2, and 3 were ordered to move into position around the bus. Before they approached, Mendoza started firing from inside the bus. The bus curtains were drawn closed and interior lights turned off. Mendoza was using his automatic M16 assault rifle. The teams started smashing the bus windows which turned out to be made of tempered plexi-glass making breaching with the use of a sledge hammer difficult. In the middle of the assault, Col. Yabut, battalion commander of the DPSB, decided to supervise the assault and joined the assault team. He went around the bus and then reported to Magtibay. At 8:09 p.m., a rope was tied to the door of the bus in the hope of pulling it out but this also failed.
The NCR-RPD/LRU (PNP SAF) then assisted the assaulting teams at 8:11 p.m. and provided ladder for window entry at 8:16 p.m. An opening was made at the rear window and entry was attempted but the group was met by successive shots and PO2 Allan Dy was hit on his Kevlar helmet. Another round hit his ballistic shield. The other teams continued breaching the windows and door. It was discovered that a body was lying at the door blocking access through the bus door. Finally, at 8:40 p.m., teargas was deployed by SPO3 Alfonso Gameng Jr. through the driver’s window. Movement from Mendoza was detected by PO2 Leo Sabete who took a shot from his sniper position, hitting Mendoza in the head and killing him at 8:41 p.m. Magtibay estimated the assault lasted for around forty five (45) minutes. The GMA Live coverage showed that it started at 7:35 and lasted until 8:41 when Mendoza was hit by sniper fire, or exactly 66 minutes.
During the time that the assault got stalled from 7:35 until 8:11 p.m., Gen. Santiago called Col. Medina and asked him what was happening with the assault. Medina told Santiago that it was stalled. Santiago ordered Medina to take charge and use the SAF-CRG in the assault. Medina ordered the SAF to proceed to the back of the bus. By then, the MPD SWAT were trying to enter the emergency exit of the bus when they were fired upon and the lead SWAT fell down. Everyone took cover as Mendoza continued to fire in automatic mode. Medina then saw Magtibay at the northern side of the Grandstand, went to him and informed him that he was taking over upon orders of Gen. Santiago and even told him to move back from the line of fire. Medina then called Major Pascual and told him he was taking over. They regrouped and Medina ordered that the SAF will assault the bus from the back while the SWAT distracts Mendoza from the front, then they will throw two teargas at the back and one in front after which the SAF will start the final assault. When the teargas was thrown, Mendoza was forced to go to the front of the bus and was shot by SWAT snipers.
CHAN Kwok-chu felt shots hitting the windows and the body of the bus and stayed prostrate on the floor. Later he heard the smashing of windows on the front and rear part of the bus. He also felt someone prying open the emergency exit behind him. Then he sensed people at the emergency exit. He heard gunshots coming from inside the bus and the sound of metal being hit behind him. The smashing of windows continued. Then he felt a heavy smoke inside the bus and had difficulty breathing. He wanted to stand up but he still heard gunshots from outside so he stayed still. When he heard people shouting from behind he stood up and escaped via the emergency exit. He was rushed to the hospital before being flown to Hong Kong and being admitted at a Hong Kong hospital.
Major Salvador saw the SWAT teams move in to assault the bus. He went to the NCRPO van to wait for any call from Yebra but none came. Later he heard from other policemen that Mendoza was killed by a sniper shot.
Col. Medina ordered the clearing operations for any other possible threat after Mendoza was finally shot. When the bus was cleared, he gave the go signal for the ambulances. He was surprised when one ambulance opened its backdoor and there were TV cameramen on board.
At around 8:50 p.m., the first hostages started to be taken out of the bus by responding police, Red Cross volunteers, and other medical teams.
Col. Po approached the bus and observed that some hostages have exited through the emergency door at the back of the bus. He then went to the front door and saw the body of Mendoza hanging out of the door with part of his head missing. He assisted some policemen in extricating the body until it was removed. He then instructed Col. Yabut to safeguard the firearms of Mendoza. Po then assisted medical personnel carry out one hostage lying on the aisle near the bus stairs. The medical team also complained of having difficulty retrieving hostages because of the tear gas. Po entered the bus again and pushed out a smashed window to let out the tear gas smoke. He then turned off the bus engine. Finally, Po was approached by Li Qinfeng, the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China who requested for an initial report of the hostage-taking incident.
PO1 Ronaldo Flores Jr., the personal driver of Police Superintendent (Lt. Col.) Nelson Yabut of the District Public Safety Batallion (DPSB), who was then at the right side of the bus, was instructed by Yabut to approach the bus. When he saw them retrieving the body of Mendoza, he gave assistance. A policeman wearing a bullcap in reverse made a body search of Mendoza which resulted in the recovery of 3 magazines for .45 caliber pistol, a wallet, cellphone, and dagger. Lt. Col. Yabut handed over the items to Flores. He also handed over an M16 rifle without magazine and ordered Flores to turn-0ver all the items to the Luneta PCP. Major Edgar Reyes accompanied Flores to the PCP.
Major Edgar Reyes found Lt. Col. Yabut carrying a plastic bag containing belongings of the victims. He was looking for an officer to accompany PO1 Ronaldo Flores to bring the items to the Luneta PCP for turn-over and inventory.
One female hostage victim aged 30 to 40 was taken out of the bus through the window and was put into a stretcher and ambulance of the Red Cross team led by Aloysius Alvarez. She was brought to the Manila Doctor’s Hospital but the security guard said they were no longer accepting emergency cases. She was brought to the Ospital ng Maynila instead. Along the way the hostage victim was given CPR but she no longer had a pulse.
Amansec recalled that Major Edgar Reyes came carrying a long firearm, a pistol, and some magazines which he put down a table together with two handcuffs, a wallet, a bloodied hunting knife, and the cellular phones of the hostages.
While Lieutenant Ursua and SPO2 Pineda were investigating Lubang, Major Reyes and Lt. Col. Nelson Yabut came carrying the objects recovered from the hostage-taker and asked them to receive the same. They initially refused to receive the same because these should be taken into custody by the homicide investigator. They relented only because no one was there to take the recovered objects into custody. The objects were inventoried by Reyes, Pineda and Ursua. These are the following:
- One Elisco M16 rifle SN-127030 with one chambered ammunition;
- Three M16 rifle magazines (Two banana type magazines with one loaded with 12 rounds of ammunition and one empty aluminum type magazine);
- Two police handcuffs;
- One Samsung cellphone with SIM card;
- One empty shell of caliber .45 ammunition;
- One .45 caliber pistol, Colt standard SN-123034;
- One dagger with case;
- One Gucci men’s wallet containing Permit To Carry Firearm, Firearm License, Mission Order, Driver’s License, US Resident Alien ID, and US SSS Security Card all issued in the name of Mendoza, as well as cash and assorted calling cards; and
- Eighteen assorted cellphones.
The objects were then taken to Police Station 5 for safekeeping after which they notified Lt. Col. Bernal of the same. On August 24, 2010 at 6:34 a.m., the recovered objects were brought by SPO2 Pineda and Police Officer 3 (PO3) Anthony Leonard Navarro to the SOCO-MPD which refused to receive all the objects. SOCO operative PO2 Ryan Gaytano received only the following:
- Elisco M16 rifle;
- Three magazines with 15 live ammunition;
- .45 caliber Colt pistol;
- Three .45 caliber pistol magazines with 19 pieces of live ammunition and one empty shell; and
- One dagger.
The objects which the SOCO refused to receive were turned over and received by the
Homicide Section of the MPD.
Vice Mayor Isko Moreno was still at the Manila Pavilion after the assault and he called Magtibay to ask which hospitals the hostages were being taken to and he went to the Manila Doctor’s Hospital. A personnel there told him that of the five hostages that were taken there, four were declared dead on arrival.
Emelito H. Tuazon is the manager of King Harold Memorial Chapel. His people were able to retrieve the bodies of the following dead hostages:
- YEUNG Yee-wa, Female, 44 – taken from Ospital ng Maynila with clothes on;
- Unidentified male – Also taken from Ospital ng Maynila but claimed by Archangel Funeral Home who claimed because the child of the victim was with them, wearing sic pocket shorts;
- WONG Tze-lam, Male, 51 – taken from Philippine General Hospital, wearing briefs only;
- FU Cheuk-yan, male, 39 – taken from Manila Doctors’ Hospital, wearing briefs;
- TSE Ting-chunn, male, 32 – taken from Manila Doctors’ Hospital, wearing boxer shorts; and
- YEUNG Yee-kam, female, 46 – taken from Manila Doctors’ Hospital, wearing pants.
All said bodies retrieved by King Harold Memorial Chapel were brought to PNP SOCO at Camp Crame.
At 9:30 p.m., Col. Medina was ordered by Gen. Santiago to go to Emerald Restaurant together with the SAF team. Arriving at Emerald, the President asked Medina what happened to him because of his appearance. Medina told him that he took part in the assault of the bus. The President asked to be briefed but later on he ordered Medina and his men to proceed to Malacanang.
Basis of authority and mandate of the IIRC
Summary of proceedings
Limitations of the report
Facts and sequence of events
Evaluation of CMC and police actions
Evaluation of media coverage
NOT INCLUDED ARE:
Conclusions on accountability
These parts of the report have not yet been made public by Malacañang, pending further review by the President's legal team (see statement above).
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