Eight Hong Kong tourists who died during a bus hijacking in the Philippines last month were killed by the hostage-taker and not during a rescue attempt, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Thursday.
She also said at least 10 civilian and police officials would be held accountable for the handling of the hijacking and rescue bid.
Last week, de Lima said some of the hostages may have been shot by police during the rescue bid.
However, in recent days, she pointed to witness accounts as proof that the victims were killed by the hijacker.
The police action was broadcast live around the world, sparking outrage in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, and resulting in intense criticism of new President Benigno Aquino, accused of badly managing his first major test in office.
"Based on survivors' accounts, (the victims) were really killed by the hostage-taker," de Lima said Thursday. "The accounts of three survivors, who were on the bus up until the end, are substantial enough. The autopsy reports of Hong Kong authorities are really much more clear and helpful."
De Lima said an investigating panel, due to hand its report to Aquino tomorrow, had singled out the 10 civilian and police officials.
Journalists who may have disrupted negotiations with the hijacker during the crisis could also face punishment, she said.