Chinese, PH put closure to bus hostage crisis

Posted at 03/24/11 7:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Both the country and China are now putting a close to the bus hostage crisis that gripped both nations for months last year.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao said the crisis has already been resolved at the diplomatic and political levels.

For his part, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said the findings of the 5-man jury created by the Hong Kong Coroner’s court should now “put a closure to the issue.”

The court said Philippine officials should be faulted for “not meeting the hostage-taker’s demands,” among others.

Robredo said the findings are more or less the same ones that he and his colleagues from the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) developed following the bus hostage crisis.

A disgruntled police officer, Rolando Mendoza, took hostage Hong Kong nationals last August 23. At the end of the almost 9-hour drama, 9 died including the gunman himself.

“It’s just stated in a different way, but it is the same. In fact, ours recommended filing of cases versus police officials and some local officials,” he said.

The President’s subsequent decision to temper the penalties should not be made an issue, he said.

“Our report was recommendatory. At the end of the day, it was still processed by the lawyers from the Palace,” he said.

Liu noted that with the closing of the chapter, more Hong Kong tourists will come to the Philippines. He described the country as a “beautiful country.”

He also said China still has a pending invitation for President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for a state visit.

Liu sees this as an opportunity to strengthen ties between the 2 countries.