Manila’s Hostage Situation, What Happened?

Philippines must be having the worst time of 2010.

Already rocked by a recent scandal of how a Police district handles it’s accused which has resulted in the suspension of the entire district, Manila is rocked once again by a hostage standoff situation.

Only thought to happen in Hollywood, Manila was faced with a situation involving a once decorated but very much scandalized and now discharged police officer, Inspector Roland Mendoza, 55 yrs old.

The standoff which resulted in 9 dead bodies including the gunman and Hong Kong tourists had lasted 12 hours.

The question on the minds of many people now is, ‘Why did it took so long?’

The question on my mind is, ‘What were the police waiting for?’

Sure, the police will issue a public statement to provide details of the actions in place but it will no doubt fall short of a regretful apology for the 8 lives lost.

Now, as information begins to seep in and as I try to understand the situation.

Several issues arise out of why the long wait.

  1. Identification of gunman
    Because there was no real communication established early on between the gunman and the police, this could have taken time. The police would have needed to ascertain the identification of the man who’s holding captives at gun point before they could reach a strategy to negotiate or attack.
  2. Persuasion
    This is probably the best way to negotiate a gunman who’s gone bonkers to surrender himself. The introduction of the gunman’s brother, who also happens to be a police officer was an attempt to quell his intentions, whatever they may be. Unfortunately, this didn’t work either.
  3. Negotiation
    Having unsuccessfully persuaded, the next tactic in line would be negotiation. But having understood what the negotiations may have entailed, it must have included ‘Unconditional acquition from all charges laid out against him’ and to ‘Reinstate Mendoza back into the police force as well as full retirement benefits’. These charges are of course ridiculous and near impossible to be adhered to. Given the circumstances, there really was no room for negotiation.
  4. SWAT Activation
    Never perhaps activated before, SWAT was probably taken aback with this situation and were forced to come out with an extensive plan before going down to scene.

Here’s what I thought the Police should have done instead which would have ended the siege much earlier.

Having successfully ascertained the identity of the gunman and tried persuasion at many different levels (family, religion, friends), the police should have entered into a negotiation pact which would have promised Mendoza all that he wanted in exchange for the safe passage of the hostages. But this promise would of course, be merely a farce as the first priority is to save the hostages lives at all cost.

This didn’t happen.

What I think probably happened is that negotiations were made but other officers involved in the rescue operation could also have had past dealings with Mendoza’s vice activities and hence were not willing to take chances to allow him to only be arrested. Such an event would have resulted in massive suspension of other higher ranking officers who were probably aware of Mendoza’s vice activities.

There was only one way out of this – Kill Mendoza to Silence him.

This only way out would also result in the endangering of lives of the hostages on board the bus.

Unfortunately now, Mendoza is dead and we will never know if what I had guessed is true or not  BUT if you know me well enough, you’ll know that it’s probably true.

If you missed out on the highly packed action, here’s a clip it:

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