Filipinos have been mounting a bit of an inward reflection and soul-searching in the face of overwhelming shame brought about by the appallingly incompetent handling of the August 23 Mendoza hostage incident that resulted in the unnecessary deaths of eight foreign tourists. Something interesting was dug up by the mostly half-witted efforts in this exercise taken by some Philippine apologists and triumphalists — the murder of two Filipino tourists in Beijing back in 2005.
One such apologist-cum-triumphalist is blogger Reyna Elena. I don’t know what kind of point blogger Elena was trying to make when he wrote an article highlighting the murder in Beijing of Filipino tourists Emmanuel Madrigal and his daughter Regina Mia in August 19, 2005. For the benefit of those looking for a more reliable account of this incident, the Madrigal case was mentioned in an August 2008 news article published in Mclatchydc.com that reported the stabbing to death in Beijing of Todd Bachman, father-in-law of the head coach of the U.S. Olympic volleyball team.
Just like the attack on Bachman, the attack that resulted in the death of the Madrigal father and daughter seemed to be a random act, although there is some speculation that the Madrigals were victims of an unfortunate case of mistaken identity (excerpt quoted from Mclatchydc.com):
Violent crime against foreigners rarely occurs in China. A Canadian model was murdered last month in Shanghai, reportedly after she came upon a robbery.
The last known fatal knife attack against foreigners occurred on April 19, 2005, when a man ran amok near the Mao Zedong Mausoleum in Tiananmen Square, stabbing to death an oil executive and his daughter from the Philippines, Emmanuel Madrigal and Regina Mia. The attack occurred following a spate of anti-Japanese rioting in major cities in China, and Filipino relatives said they believed the victims were mistaken for Japanese tourists.
The 25-year-old assailant, Wang Gongzuo, was later sentenced to death.
What is quite interesting here is how this incident is now being bandied around the Internet by people like “Reyna Elena” as some sort of perverse apples-to-oranges accounting of which country did what “better” as far as the handling of the respective cases vis-à-vis accountability over the outcome.
Let’s say for argument’s sake that there is a valid basis for making such comparisons between the way Chinese authorities handled the Madrigal and Bachman murders and the way Philippine authorities handled the Mendoza hostage affair. It would then be worth considering the following two questions to put things in perspective:
(1) Were there government authorities and other parties (such as the Media) involved and in a position to influence the outcome of the incident during the period that said incident transpired? If so;
(2) Was there anything that clearly could have been done by said involved parties to change the tragic outcome of said incident?
In the case of the tourist murders in Beijing, the answer to Question Number One is a NO and as such there is no point in even considering Question Number 2.
In the case of the Mendoza hostage incident, the response to both questions is a resounding YES.
I’ll spell it out. The Philippine Government, the Philippine Police, and the Philippine Media, were all involved in and actively influencing the Mendoza hostage incident as it transpired. The same thing cannot be said about the tragic sequence of events that led to the slaying of Bachman and the Madrigals.
Clearly there is no basis for comparing Beijing to Manila as far as handling such incidents.
Most likely the above points will be lost in a people renowned for a lack of a convincing tradition of accountability — both at a personal level and at a societal level. But then there is a point to be made nonetheless — even if it flies over the head of the average Filipino schmoe.