Dead Lock: The Taking of Quirino Grandstand  

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I was in the middle of writing my next Nobel Prize winner when news about a hostage-taking situation erupted from the telly.

Former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza held a bus load of Hong Kong tourists captive for nearly 12 hours before the hostage drama reached its bloody end.

Senior Inspector Mendoza was killed apparently by sniper fire when the situation seemed to have reached its inevitable climax. The situation started when Mendoza boarded the tour bus and commandeered the vehicle towards Quirino Grandstand. The former cop demanded that he be reinstated, and he used the hostage situation as a means to attract attention. He wanted to clear his name after allegations of drug-related crimes and extortion were filed against him in 2008. He was subsequently discharged from service and was forbidden from seeking employment in law enforcement.

Details of the hostage situation can be found all over the web, and I don't feel like recounting the terrible sequences of events that led to Mendoza's demise. I would rather talk about the future. What will this international nightmare mean for the country? As early as now, mere hours after the hostage drama ended, the Hong Kong government has already issued a Black Travel Alert warning residents against flying to the Philippines. This is more than an international embarrassment.

What will this mean for the Philippine National Police? If anything, the situation highlighted our law enforcement agency's inadequacy at handling high-risk situations such as a hostage-taking. We can make all the jokes that we want about our SWAT teams being more like SQUAT teams, but the reality of it is daunting. There will be other Rolando Mendoza's out there. How can we be sure that our tax money goes to the enhancement and improvement of our local law enforcement system?


How does the PNP feel about one of their own causing one of the most tragic international incidents the country has ever seen in years?

How will President Noynoy Aquino respond to this threat to his competency? People have begun pointing fingers and having one of those accusing fingers pointed at the country's leader cannot be helped. Noynoy will have to take part of the blame from the PNP. He may not have been the person directly responsible for our law enforcement agency's incompetency, but he is the nation's leader and should respond as such. Then there's also the issue of smoothing out internal relations with the Hong Kong government. How he will continue to receive the people's respect, one can only speculate. One thing is certain, President Aquino will never hear the end of this from his detractors.

Finally, how will the typical Juan dela Cruz feel? Watching various news coverages from ABS-CBN, GMA7 and even international news agencies like CNN, I saw that there were more than a few onlookers at the scene. They had absolutely no business being there, they were just watching the drama unfold. When the police rushed in after Senior Inspector Mendoza was shot, the onlookers rushed in too. It was embarrassing as a nation to see a hostage situation look like a rock band concert, with all the spectators clamoring to get a front row seat to the spectacle.

Forgive me for saying this, but with the cops' incompetency and the utter lack of crowd control, I was seriously half-expecting the bus the blow up. I blame NCIS and Criminal Minds for the barrage of dark subliminal expectations in my head.

Conspiracy theorists will talk about this for years.

One versus an entire battalion. Did we really get the bad guy here?

2 comments

That day still gives me the chills.... sad day...

Same here bro.

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Stories from the Simian Crease by Binchee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.
Based on a work at binchee.blogspot.com