PNoy meets HK chief exec, won't say sorry for hostage crisis
|President Aquino (right) meets with Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung (3rd left) in Bali, Indonesia. Photo by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News|
BALI, INDONESIA—President Aquino met with Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung (Leung Chun Ying) at the sidelines of the APEC Summit on Monday. Discussions centered on the 2010 Manila hostage crisis.
It was Leung who sought the meeting with Aquino a day after a group of Hong Kong journalists tried to stage an ambush interview with Aquino and badgered him with questions on the hostage incident.
The meeting between the two leaders lasted for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Aquino said that both sides are trying to put closure to the issue.
“Syempre hostage crisis ang pinag-usapan. Perspective nila versus ‘yung perspective natin. I think nagkaroon ng clarification as to what each side has been doing, why the perception of each side is such. We’re working to put that behind us. I got the sense naman that they really were sincerely trying to come to a solution to that incident,” Aquino told reporters.
Aquino again expressed his condolences and “deepest regret” over the incident where eight Hong Kong tourists died.
But Aquino stopped short of making an apology and explained to Leung that it is contrary to Filipino culture to say sorry for what was the fault of another person, referring to the act of the hostage-taker for this particular incident.
“We explained and sagot parang dinedma, ano, tapos nagkaintindihan ng kaunti. Sabi ko sa kanila, sa culture namin when we apologize then it admits that we are at fault as a country, as a government, and as a people. And we pointed out, that from our perspective, there is one lone gunman responsible for this tragedy,” Aquino said.
Leung said that in their culture, the authorities say sorry for an unfortunate incident and gave a recent ferry disaster as an example where the chief of Hong Kong’s marine department apologized for the tragedy even if he was not directly responsible.
“So sabi ko, that’s your culture, you practice those, that’s your system but in our system… we cannot admit wrongdoing if it’s not ours. But we do extend our sincerest condolences. Again, we expressed our deepest regret that it’s so contrary to how we treat visitors in our country,” Aquino said.
Aquino said Leung recognized this cultural aspect.
The President acceded to a request of the survivors and the victims’ families to a dialogue with Philippine officials on the status of the cases filed.
Aquino said that a dialogue may be arranged between the families and the consul general or even with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to update them and explain the Philippine court’s process and the length of time that it takes for the resolution of cases.
Meantime, Aquino understood why Indonesian authorities had to bar the Hong Kong journalists who tried to interview him from covering the summit, saying that the Philippines would do the same if it was done on the country’s guests.
“Maski saan naman tayo pupunta, we are expected to conform to certain norms or behavior…Kunyari ginawa bansa natin iyon, ‘yung bisita natin at ganun ang trato, dapat ba expected din na sobra tayong hospitable na okay lang, paano naman iyong bisita natin?” he said.