Dismissal, demotions for cops in Manila hostage crisis

Posted at 08/11/14 2:39 PM

Other cops also sanctioned

MANILA – For serious neglect of duty, the National Police Commission (Napolcom) dismissed from service SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, the brother of the hostage-taker in the Quirino Grandstand crisis almost four years ago.

In a statement, NAPOLCOM Vice-Chairman and Executive Officer Eduardo U. Escueta said the en banc also found Supt. Orlando Yebra and Chief Insp. Santiago David Pascual III guilty of gross incompetence and meted them the penalty of one rank demotion.

He said Mendoza failed to perform his duty and even fueled the situation that eventually led to the death of eight tourists from Hong Kong on August 23, 2010.

The crisis started after a sacked police officer, Rolando Mendoza, took hostage a bus full of tourists at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park.

At the end of the ten-hour ordeal, Rolando was killed by the police assault team. Eight Hong Kong tourists were also killed in the ordeal.

"[Gregorio] Mendoza failed to perform his duty as part of the negotiating panel because instead of finding solution to the crisis he actually added to the problem when he demanded for the return of his service firearm as a condition for the release of the hostages,” the Napolcom statement read.

Mendoza was also penalized for carrying his firearm even while in civilian clothing.

“PNP members are prohibited to display their service firearm, tuck it at their waist or insert it in their waistband or holster while in civilian attire. PNP issuances also provide that carrying of service firearms in civilian attire requires the presentation of Mission/Letter Order,” Napolcom said.

Escueta said the Napolcom en banc also found Yebra and Pascual guilty of gross incompetence and gave them a one rank demotion.

“The Commission ruled that Yebra fell short of his duty as the Chief Negotiator for his failure to alert his superiors to be on guard when it became manifest that the hostage taker had grown agitated and angry,” the statement read.

The Napolcom noted Yebra failed to uphold the cardinal rule in hostage negotiation and crisis management, which is not to agitate the hostage taker.

“Yebra lost his focus and composure in front of the hostage taker when he pulled SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, brother of the hostage taker, an act which further infuriated the hostage taker and inflamed the situation,” Napolcom said.

On the other hand, Pascual, the over-all assault team leader of the MPD SWAT, was found liable for the disorganized rescue operations.

Pascual also supposedly failed to inform the ground commander that the MPD SWAT was not skilled and equipped in dealing with the situation.

Earlier, the Office of the President (OP) already dismissed from service Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay, former District Director of the Manila Police District (MPD), for failing to manage his team during the bungled negotiations.

Acting under the authority of President Benigno Aquino III, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa meted out the maximum penalty of dismissal from service as well as all accessory penalties against Magtibay for the crisis on August 23, 2010 that led to the death of eight tourists from Hong Kong.

The case of Magtibay was forwarded to the OP for final disposition since he is a presidential appointee.