UCAN report: The violent ending to yesterday’s hostage drama in Manila shows a failure of Catholic leaders, the director of an institute for religious life said today.
It had also failed to inculcate “basic human and Christian values,” among Church members, he said.
Eight Hong Kong tourists were killed along with their attacker, a former senior police officer, Rolando Mendoza, who commandeered their tourist bus in downtown Manila.
Although Mendoza released 10 hostages, about 15 passengers, mostly Hong Kong tourists were on the bus during the final shoot-out.
Mendoza was dismissed from the force in the face of complaints of extortion but claimed he was unfairly judged and was demanding reinstatement.
Bishop Deogracias Iniguez of Kalookan, who heads the Public Affairs Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, noted the growing number of hostage-taking incidents in the country.
“This kind of violence is a little bit alarming,” he said.
One former hostage-taker said he understood Mendoza’s motivations. In 2007, engineer Armando Ducat, Jr. and a companion armed with a grenade and Uzi rifle seized 26 day-care children and four teachers demanding free education for children and housing for poor families in Manila’s Tondo district slum.
Interviewed on national television today, he said he understood Mendoza’s frustration in not having his grievances addressed.
Ducat, who had served jail time for his crime, said he did not regret his actions.
Augustinian Father Rommel Rubia of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish in Tondo, does not remember Ducat’s appeal to the parish. The priest said the parish is in the same situation of poverty.
“We cannot give much help that will cost money because (the parish) cannot even pay for its own electric bills,” Father Rubia said.
Hong Kong Christians pray for victims
Christians and fellow citizens offered prayers to victims of the Manila hostage drama, a ucanews.com reporter writes from Hong Kong.
More than 220,000 Facebook users have supported a call for prayers and paid tribute to the victims.
Some Christians also appealed to “love the sinner and hate the sin” in response to some Internet postings attacking Filipinos.
Jackie Hung Ling-yu of the diocesan Justice and Peace Commission told ucanews.com she was concerned about growing anger against Filipinos in the wake of a travel warning for the country.
While condemning the violence, Hung said the incident showed the “incompetence and brutality” of the Philippines police.
“We can see how life is unworthy in this country. How can the Filipinos rely on these police to protect their lives and properties?” asked Hung, who has participated in a fact-finding mission on extrajudicial killings in the Philippines in 2007.
The United Filipinos in Hong Kong, an NGO for migrant workers, has called for a thorough investigation.
“The question of whether the crisis could have handled better and faster should be resolved. All actions taken by negotiators and police operatives must be examined to the last detail,” it said in a statement.