Hostage Drama sa Primetime!

During the timeslot of 7 to 9pm, people are watching anxiously for their favorite soap opera.

Their favorite shows got bumped off because of a real-life drama.

Unlike their soaps, the drama didn’t end with “To Be Continued”.

But the drama didn’t also end happily.

Hong Thai Travel had superb TV airtime.

This is not the exposure they need though.

Ronaldo Mendoza wants to have his police job back.

He’s doing this by taking hostage a bus filled with tourists.

Yes… you have to love the logic of these words.

Philippine television’s finest two hours was infamous. It all started when an ex-policeman wearing his with a M-16 tried getting on a bus filled with a lot of Hong Kong nationals. It ended with a lot of people looking at a bullet-ridden bus… with foreigners exclaiming the competency of our police… and with our tourism on a standstill.

I don’t really want to say this but there were a lot of bad things that shouldn’t have happened in that crossfire.

First of all, who was leading this thing? It seems like there was no sense of urgency. I went on a day tour once and I’m pretty sure that the Manila tour (I think I’m sure this was the tour these foreigners had) starts its trip at around seven in the morning. It took them what… twelve hours? Sure, hostage situations require timing and controlling the situation but showing the cops walking around, puffing cigarettes, and laughing isn’t convincing people.

Then, you pampered the guy… and all of a sudden you piss him off. When he was sane, he is bartering the hostages with food and supplies. Why the hell would you make the hostage taker watch the cops arrest his relatives? That’s like stopping a fire by putting lighter fluid on it. Even if the hostage taker couldn’t see his posse getting escorted, it is not as if he is not watching television!

And one more thing – where’s the media blackout? I hate to say this but cops should always expect that a hostage crisis would suffer if a camera televising is involved. Often they act as nuisance (like the happenings in Oakwood and the dealings with the rebels), but they basically spoil the strategies being set. At least GMA waited until confirming with the authorities with regards to the death toll...

And by the way… what strategies you might be asking? If there is one thing I saw during that takeover, it was as if our cops weren’t prepared to spearhead these missions. I saw a cop holding a shield pretty scared. I saw a couple of cops bundled aimlessly at the front and back of the bus. I see a lot of cops going back and forth to get something but if they had their walkie-talkies in place, they wouldn’t have done that. I saw a lot of cops beating glass with little sense of what they should do after they tear it down. I saw a cop throwing either a smoke grenade or a flash grenade but it went back to him.


How can almost 200 policemen act like unprepared cadets playing in the rain in front of live television?

And perhaps the worse thing: Who was that cop waving at his peers that it is all clear but then a round of shots ignited?

Maybe it is a blessing that there were no big high-ranking official leading this thing because crisis would have robbed his credibility.

And finally and most importantly… CROWD CONTROL. Out of nowhere these people burst out from nowhere and ran to the crime scene! For once I’m not going to pin this on the cops… even if they are partly to blame. What are these buffoons thinking??? These audiences could mess up the criminal investigation! What if there’s a timebomb? An hour before the finish a kid was hurt when a bullet flew to him. Should that be an enough warning?

It sucks because people might think that Pinoy cops are only good in torturing people.

I hate this from ever happening but with the way we handled the crisis, we need to exert more effort in dealing with these problems.

Mendoza was nailed on the head… by a sniper. During a gunfight where the cops have surrounded the taker, they defeated the hostage taker by a long ranged assault rifle.

Had someone stepped up when Mendoza was rational, this could have been over. Actually during the event of the takeover where millions are glued to their TV sets, someone should have stepped up and led. Instead we saw a lot of cops unprepared in crunch time.

I wonder what the president would say about this.

Though they did their best and while the end did justified the means. And while at least there are four lives saved in that event…

Our cops should be better than this in the near future.

Game over.


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