MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman said Thursday that Hong Kong tourist bus driver Alberto Lubang may have gone into hiding.
Soliman said DSWD staff went to Lubang's home in Taytay, Rizal province, but they were unable to find him.
Lubang was able to escape from the bus, along with 7 Hong Kong tourists and 3 other Filipinos.
As the bus driver was running to his safety, he told police and the media that all the tourists were dead.
A police assault team successfully entered the bus only after a sniper killed Mendoza with a shot to the head. Eight Hong Kong tourists turned up dead.
An ABS-CBN News team also tried to look for Lubang, but his neighbors said the whole family left Wednesday morning, and they have not seen them since.
Soliman said they tried to debrief Lubang right after his escape from the bus, but he was pulled away by the polcie.
Lubang earlier complained about the repetitive questioning by several police investigators after his escape.
There were suspicions by the police he was in cahoots with the hostage-taker. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said he can't believe Lubang's claim that he used a nail clipper to free himself from his handcuffs.
Soliman said this allegation could be the reason why Lubang was forced to go into hiding.
She said that after witnessing what happened to Lubang, she feels there is a need to review police procedures in handling trauma victims.
She said Lubang needs professional assistance so he can cope up with the trauma he experienced during the 12-hour hostage drama.
Soliman added the DSWD is also currently looking for the Filipino photographer and his Filipino assistant who were also released.
She said they were not able to immediately debrief the 3 Filipino tourist bus workers since they had to prioritize the Hong Kong tourists who were released by Mendoza.
She said President Benigno Aquino III has instructed her to locate and extend assistance to Lubang and the 2 Filipino photographers. – Report from Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News