senior police inspector Rolando Mendoza, takes a bus full of tourists hostages in Manila, Philippines

What may surprise people in this hostage situation is that the lone gunman armed with an M16 assault rifle is a former Police officer who was also recognised as one of the top 10 police officers in the country back in 1986 but he was discharged in 2008 for his alleged involvement in drug-related crimes and extortion, according to police.

Disgruntled he has now taken tourists as hostage demanding he is reinstated in his previous role.

There were initially at least16 passengers on the bus and over time some have been released including the bus driver in the last 10 minutes watched live on television here.

In a live radio link the ex police officer said “I can see a lot of SWAT (special weapons and tactics police) coming in. I know they will kill me. They should all leave because anytime I will do the same here,”

These were the first comments from the former senior police inspector Rolando Mendoza since he took the busload of tourists mainly from Hong Kong, China on Monday morning.

During the day the gunman released nine of the buses passengers, he initially boarded the bus in Manila’s historical tourist district in the morning.

Around 5.20pm a gunshot was heard from inside the bus but currently there has been nothing reported of injuries or anyone being killed.

Although the vehicle has been surrounded by commandos the Police are working towards a safe conclusion prioritising safety of the passengers. Presidential Communications Operations Head, Secretary Herminio Coloma said “The hostage taking need not alarm the international community because it is an isolated incident”. Following with “We just need to view this in perspective as an isolated incident and does not reflect the real situation of our country today,”

Bits of paper were stuck to the glass door of the bus the first one reading “Big deal will start after 3.00 pm (0700 GMT) today,” When the deadline expired (6 hours into the hostage taking) with no new developments a new sign was posted saying “media now”.

Another sign later said “Big mistake for big wrong decision” which seems to be in reference to being fired.

Throughout the day seven tourists including three children an elderly man and two Filipinos were released at various times. Very little has been to said to why they were released but assumptions are no doubt that negotiations have been working to secure their removal from the bus. Food has also been allowed onto the bus for the passengers from a nearby fast food restaurant.

The tourists on the bus varied in age from four to seventy two and were scheduled to leave the Philippines returning to Hong Kong late on Monday.

The bus is parked in front of a grandstand at Rizal Park, a popular tourist destination and a few streets away from Police headquarters. The gunman’s brother (who is also a Police officer) was also called to come and help with the negotiations.

The bus highjack came within hours of a South Korean being killed at a seperate attack on a vehicle by gunmen elsewhere in the capital. Although the incidents are not related its more common than people realise.

13 comments for “senior police inspector Rolando Mendoza, takes a bus full of tourists hostages in Manila, Philippines

  1. TropicalPenpals
    August 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Newblogpost: . -senior police inspector Rolando Mendoza,takes a bus full of tourists hostages in Manila,Philippines

  2. Adjing Legaspi Hinos
    August 24, 2010 at 6:55 am

    if what the driver has shouted that all hostages has been executed then the officer who ordered that rolando mendoza’s family be rounded up for questioning has to be blamed

  3. Tropicalpenpals
    August 24, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Everything that unfolded seemed a complete sham.. from the handling of the situation that ended in the killings to the extraction of people at the end. Its another thing that will be seen internationally showing the Philippines in a bad lig…ht.. they should ask for advice from other countries that have specialist teams that deal with these sort of situations as well as “cross train” with some of them. In the UK the SAS often have other countries special forces train alongside them and learn from them so why doesn’t the Philippines look to get into the same sort of practice and training from similar types of special forces units.

  4. Albert D Delima
    August 24, 2010 at 6:57 am

    a tragedy that the “system” almost succesfully made it a comedy……..

  5. Albert D Delima
    August 24, 2010 at 6:58 am

    they are watching movies too,, and since Day-1 they are trained for that,with the lion’s share of the country’s budget…
    at least they should look as if they are above the situation…
    they are not ordinary people,, but some scene shows the…y forgot their theary 101……

  6. Romeo Delima
    August 24, 2010 at 6:58 am

    It seemed so easy for us to judge seeing a lot of action films. Real life clearly is not that. we expect too much from real people, flesh and bones, who were also afraid of there lives. And real life is a combination of tragedy and a farce.

  7. albert
    August 24, 2010 at 6:59 am

    with that proximty of the subject,,they should all wear a vest and a helmet,,even the “die hard guy” wears one….the bus has radio and tv,, so their was an uncontrolled interaction,,, isn’t it should be between the subject and the man in c…harge… tv off radio off…
    well, i was really expecting something from the men with big letters in their shirts….

  8. Tropicalpenpals
    August 24, 2010 at 7:00 am

    The issue is they are suppose to be professionals.. when it all goes wrong and nobody sees it its a tragedy. When its shown live on tv its a disgrace.. as it showed all their actions as disorganised and un-commited in taking action aswell a…

  9. Albert D Delima
    August 24, 2010 at 7:01 am

    though the efforts were clear, got to give them that….they’re trying to save lives..

  10. Romeo Delima
    August 24, 2010 at 7:01 am

    got some points there. bro. and it seemed that our country has less of that situation because even those trained people are not used to it.

  11. Tropicalpenpals
    August 24, 2010 at 7:02 am

    I have no doubt that Mendoza would have ended it peacefully as his actions of giving hostages earlier in the day aswell as “highlighting” his case via the media he had already achieved most of what he had set out to do. There were mistakes …made with things like arresting his brother, live footage being shown on TV when it should have been a media blackout since they knew he had lines of communication inside the vehicle. Any actions outside the bus could be seen inside.. Its not giving in to actually have the case “examined” as to if he should be allowed back to work. If it was found unjust then fair enough he won his case.. at the same time he would be “mentally” unfit for work at the same time carrying out this action should have resulted in a long jail sentence to reduce encouraging others to “demand what they want” in a dangerous and threatening manner. My big question today would be do you think there will be an overhaul in tactics by SWAT teams in the Philippines.

    As regards not “being used to it” though.. the SAS train 7 days a week regardless if there is a need for it or not. They are pretty much permanently on active service since Iraq/Afghanistan wars broke out but even still some of their unit is practicing hostage situations as well as many other specialised training every single day. There are also sub groups within the retired community that specialise in training others as well as other roles such as close protection units. They do have specialist training facilities and do offer services to other countries..

  12. Rene Reroma
    August 24, 2010 at 7:02 am

    I was touched and wish to condole with the family of the victims including Mendoza. Proper negotiation and composure could have prevented the killings. Mendoza had a grievance which could have been worked-out towards a win-win ending.