Hostage situation in Philippines ends with eight dead

by Alister POOLE on August 24, 2010

The world’s eyes turned on the Philippines yesterday as TV viewers watched a deadly standoff between authorities and a former scorned policeman.

The embittered police officer, angry over being sacked over misconduct two years ago, laid siege to a tour bus full of visitors from Hong Kong. In a battle with police officers that ended with eight dead, former police officer, Rolando Mendoza, 55, was finally taken out by marksmen in Manila yesterday.

Mendoza began his poorly planned rampage yesterday morning in the walled city of Intramuros. Using an M16 automatic rifle, he forced his way onto a bus filled with tourists from Hong Kong, who were on their final leg of touring the country. Waiting until the vehicle reached Jose Rizal park, close to Manila Bay, Mendoza announced he would take the 24 passengers hostage until authorities promised to give him his job back.

Sticking a note to the door of the tour bus, Mendoza had written that the move was a ‘big mistake to correct a wrong decision’. According to local media, Mendoza was formerly a policeman, held in high regard among his peers, even being named one of the top ten in the Philippines. However, it is reported that he was stripped of duty after a hotel manager accused him and four other officers of falsely placing drugs at his property in 2008. The incident occurred just before Mendoza was scheduled to retire.

Authorities entered into negotiations with Mendoza, but after all talks failed and eight passengers had been killed, Mendoza was taken out to prevent further bloodshed.

 The President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino held a midnight conference to address the incident, stating that despite attempts to resolve the situation peacefully, the hostage-taker was intent on harming others or himself, thus causing the situation to deteriorate.

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