BY PET MELLIZA
Hostage drama culture of arrogance
We grieve with the families killed and wounded in the botched rescue attempt of the PNP.
I may be dumb but at least I am not as stupid as idiots in PNP SWAT uniform, “Manila’s Finest” who mishandled the hostage-drama at Quirino Grandstand, Luneta last August 23. This is one maxim we can coin at the manner the supposed rescuers led the victims to their tragic end, eight dead and seven injured, all Chinese nationals, when the smoke of the rescue settled down.
We were watching the drama unfold at Tibsrock resto, at Mandurriao and felt like smashing a beer bottle on to the empty head of whoever ordered the arrest of SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, brother of hostage taker, Rolando Mendoza, a former police senior inspector.
The arresting officers simply roughed him up in full view of viewers of the live coverage worldwide, including the hostage-taker himself.
We are baffled how the non-commissioned police officer was arrested sans warrant while his PNP custodians who was squeezing him down the car spouted that he was guilty for “obstruction of justice”.
SPO2 Mendoza was not committing any crime; he was at the scene to help negotiate and calm down his brother, who was desperate and fully armed. The former police major was desperate and angry after he was dismissed from service last January with the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
The morning after the carnage, the police and national bigwigs denied they blundered, the first international black eye of PNoy.
Commentators were one in saying the cops were ill-prepared, ill-trained and ill-equipped. They commentaries missed one thing: the supposed rescuers had no brain. Or their crania were just too thick to absorb wisdom. Or they just refused to hear.
It was an “isolated case”.
The bloodbath occurred right in the capital of the country where security forces were better equipped compared to their provincial counterparts, delivered the telling message that the
Philippines was not a safe place to visit.
That is not isolated because the incident is an offshoot of a pattern, the culture of arrogance. That’s what the PNP did when they stormed the BJMP two years ago in the dead of the night to whisked then Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo from detention off to Leyte where trumped up criminal charges were lodged against him. It was improper and smacked of official abuse. It was also done while video cameras of TV station were rolling and airing the incident live.
The Supreme Court stopped issued an injunction that meant the PNP acted with grave abuse of discretion. Ocampo was freed and till now awaits the PNP to say sorry for the blatant abuse.
Our memory is still fresh of yet another show of brazen lawlessness by the PNP when they stormed a hospital to handcuff ABS-CBN newscaster Ted Failon sans warrant on mere suspicion he was the one who shot dead his wife.
Not contented, they also dragged the screaming sisters and domestic helpers of Failon’s wife. The TV cameras were also rolling but that did not deter the police. The PNP later admitted that indeed Failon’s wife committed suicide but they never apologize for the deliberate snafu they committed at the very time when the dying woman badly needs the presence of her kins especially her husband.
The PNP SWAT team might have been ill-equipped and ill-prepared but their worst crime was that they did not use their brain. It just did not sink down to their thick crania that securing lives, including those of hostage takers if possible, was the sole purpose that they were there. The hostage taker was already showing good signs that he was willing to negotiate by releasing all hostages. In fact he already freed some in batches.
The PNP even blamed the media for the snafu. Kunu, had the roughing up of SPO2 Mendoza not been telecast live, the hostage taker might not have run berserk.
That ridiculous argument is aimed to divert attention and blame from the idiot who ordered SPO2 Mendoza handcuffed and thrown to jail.