Fri, September 03, 2010
World > Asia-Pacific > Probe into Manila Hostage Crisis

Philippines to re-enact final moments of hostage taking

2010-09-03 08:39:48 GMT2010-09-03 16:39:48 (Beijing Time)

MANILA - The chaotic final moments of a hostage siege in Manila that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead will be re-enacted as part of an investigation into the tragedy, Philippine authorities said on Thursday.

Among those who will help reconstruct the event is the Filipino driver of the seized tourist bus who dramatically escaped from the vehicle's window moments before a bungled assault by unprepared police commandos.

"When we question the bus driver, we (plan to) do that ocular inspection for purposes of re-enactment," Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters.

De Lima said the re-enactment would take place on Monday, when authorities also intended to wrap up the investigation before submitting a detailed report to President Benigno Aquino.

The re-enactment will take place at a police camp outside Manila where the bullet-riddled bus was towed and examined by forensics experts. De Lima encouraged full press coverage of the event to ensure that the probe was transparent.

De Lima said the report to Aquino would include a reconstruction of events, from the time sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza seized the bus with 22 Hong Kong tourists on board on the morning of August 23 until its bloody end.

Eight of the tourists were killed near the end of the 12-hour ordeal as unprepared police attempted to storm the bus.

The stand-off, which was aired around the world live on television, finally ended when police shot Mendoza dead.

"We want to know what really triggered it, what happened when he started shooting," de Lima said.

She also said two of the survivors had agreed to be interviewed by Philippine police in Hong Kong, after earlier rejecting requests.

"They would help shed light on what really inside the bus, particularly the crucial moments when Mendoza started to act wrongly," she said.

Philippine authorities admitted to a string of blunders in handling the crisis, which has strained relations with Hong Kong, and de Lima said people would be punished.

"We need to recommend to the president the imposition of appropriate liabilities, the filing of charges... (against) those who may have acted culpably or negligently in the handling of the situation," de Lima said.


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