First IIRC report on hostage crisis: some facts read like fiction

There was not much about the first report of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) regarding the August 23, 2010 Rizal Park Hostage-taking incident that we didn’t already know or suspected. The report did give us specifics and an in-depth analysis of the level of incompetence of those who were unlucky enough to have been in the front line of the crisis. However, much of it was already obvious to us all.

It was hard for me to read something that I knew had a very sad ending. It was worse than watching the film United 93, a film depiction of the hijacked United Airlines flight that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11. But the film at least had a better script than the IIRC report. It showed the bravery of the American citizens and how they were not willing to go down without a fight. Their efforts averted a much bigger disaster had the plane crashed on its intended target, The Pentagon.

Much as I always want to know how a story ends before reading it in a piece of literature, reading the IIRC report had a chilling effect on me. It was the 23rd of August once again but it is not exactly a date that any of us would like to go back to if we could travel back in time. Of course, we cannot really change anything about the past, and therefore reading about the incompetence of the Philippine National Police, the arrogance of the Philippine media and the lack of leadership in our public officials in cold atomic detail is quite confronting — even for a realist like me.

Alas, the Filipino’s penchant for making mountains out of molehills was on display yet again after the IIRC report was submitted first to China before the Filipino people. I never thought I would say this but, poor President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) can’t seem to do anything right nowadays in the eyes of some Filipinos. Some Senators and Congressmen have insisted that giving China priority crack at the report is like bowing down to a master. Senator Joker Arroyo even went as far as saying that Philippine sovereignty is in doubt now that “the Aquino government is showing more sensitivity to the Chinese people while ignoring the Filipinos’ own sentiments“. Gee, give P-Noy a break will you guys! (Insert sarcastic grin here).

This time, I can agree with Malacanang’s efforts to try and appease China. Who cares what the rest of the Filipinos think? Majority of us have never shown an iota of care about how our police force is trained and majority of us have never shown much interest in how our public officials conduct their businesses in the last several decades. Why are we so eager to find out now about something every Filipino just shrugs off or could not have been be bothered with before the crisis? At least the Chinese people are going to be reading something new to them — even a bit alien to them, like the concept of taking a key role in the defense force despite possessing insufficient mastery or skill in handling crisis situations. After all, China is the land of martial arts experts and Olympic champions that take their place among the best of the best in the world.

Just to highlight, this is how ill-equipped and ill-prepared our members of the Philippine National Police are:

In fact they had to rehearse on the very day of the hostage situation. The trainings of the Manila SWAT as provided by the Manila Police District are not updated and simulated operations were conducted, if ever conducted, was a long time ago. They don’t even know the serial numbers of their guns at an instant query. They train on their own personal account. Skill acquired through trainings diminishes after some time and needs to be constantly updated.

Skill acquired through trainings diminishes after some time and needs to be constantly updated“. Ok, now we know that our police force do not know this rule. This should really make us very nervous indeed. One has to wonder what do they do for training?

I don’t know why the Philippine media is crying foul after some journalists were recommended to be included in the list of those liable for the tragic event by the IIRC. It was a no-brainer that the media’s narcissistic style of reporting made too much entertainment out of a serious event which made everyone too catatonic and glued to the television — including the hostage taker himself Rolando Mendoza who managed to achieve his 15 minutes of fame before his death. I suppose too that everyone wanted their 15 minutes of fame judging from the way reporter Erwin Tulfo wriggled his way inside the cordoned area with a cameraman in tow even when hostage taker Mendoza specifically asked for a female reporter and, more importantly, even when he wasn’t supposed to be there. Even radio reporter Michael Rogas of Radio Mo Network (RMN) took it upon himself to occupy the only line of communication available to the hostage taker, Mendoza’s cellphone, despite him not being an official hostage negotiator. These so-called journalists need someone to shake them vigorously just to make sure their brain is still attached to their skull.

It was also blatantly obvious that the brother of Rolando, Gregorio Mendoza, should be charged with inciting and aggravating the situation resulting in the deaths of his brother and the eight Chinese tourists. I now understand why he had to be subdued and handcuffed. He kept telling his brother not to agree to any terms unless the Police handed his gun back. He may have well been an accessory to the crime for agitating his own brother by shouting, “Papatayin nila ako! Papatayin nila ako! Hindi ako accessory!” Not charging him with something is a crime in itself.

There were so many holes that needed to be filled in the report. There were so many questions that I am pretty sure even the Chinese are wanting to ask. One question that keeps bugging me is: What is this preoccupation with food? I can understand why Rolando Mendoza ordered food for the hostages at a point when he still thought he was going to get what he wanted. But why in God’s name did Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim fail to have lunch even after arriving at the crime scene for the first time at 5pm? According to the report “Mayor Lim then left for Emerald Restaurant at 6:45 p.m. because he didn’t have lunch yet and it looked like the crisis will last until dawn so they will just exhaust Mendoza until he gives up.” Couldn’t he have ordered the food to go?

One could be forgiven for mistaking the IIRC report for a script from Dumb and Dumber with Mayor Lim playing the lead character who constantly prioritized his empty stomach above anything else. Emerald restaurant must have raked in the earnings that night considering that every high ranking official from the local office in the City of Manila up to the top man in Malacanang with his aides just had to have dinner first before anything else. Filipinos and their food – they are so inseparable. Our obsession with food might just be the cause of our downfall and not our survival.

One thing is for sure, Vice Mayor Isko Moreno worked very hard during the day of the crisis coordinating and running around for everyone just to facilitate what needed to be done. It would be another crime if he gets charged for anything because of the incident.

Again, there was not much in the report that we didn’t already know. But the thing that Filipinos should still be asking is the real whereabouts of President Noynoy Aquino. Initially, his communication team released a statement saying that he was in a “closed door meeting” on the 23rd of August and supposedly explains why he was unable to talk to Hong Kong Official Donald Tsang. Now the official IIRC report is claiming that he was in Malacanang monitoring the crisis on TV from 1 o’clock pm.

At around 1:00 p.m., Col. Medina arrived at Malacanang from the NCRPO and reported to Undersecretary Rico Puno. He then briefed the President on the hostage-taking. During the briefing, the President ordered him that in case of an assault on the bus, the PNP Special Action Force Crisis Response Group (SAF-CRG) be used and that one ambulance per hostage should be readied. Medina sent General Santiago text messages regarding the President’s orders and later called him again to repeat the orders of the President. Later, while he was still in the meeting with the President monitoring the hostage-taking on TV, General Magtibay called and Medina relayed to him the orders of the President to use the SAF-CRG in case of an assault on the bus. Magtibay said “Oo” (Yes) three times.[91]

Can we really believe the above considering that the statement is also insinuating that P-Noy’s instructions to use the PNP Special Action Force Crisis Response Group (SAF-CRG) landed on deaf ears? It sounds like fiction to me.

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53 Responses to First IIRC report on hostage crisis: some facts read like fiction

  1. jemon says:

    Where is Pnoy? That is still the question.

  2. helios says:

    I wish Filipinos would really analyse things rather than being swayed by the smiling dog in the presidential palace… good job Ilda! Somehow you have persuaded me in believing that China should have been given the copy first then the Philippine public, since we wont do anything with it anyway.

    Off topic, I am surprised to see Filipinos still defending the incompetence of our government and our institutions (I am referring to the facebook site of Noynoy) instead of owning up to our mistakes we find ways to cover it up and one even went as far  as saying that Mendoza is a hero and another one agreed. We’re showing the world how dumb we are…. really…. more than ever I am ashamed of being a Filipino. the way we are acting is just so undignified…. this is going to be the longest six years of my life….

    • ilda says:

      Hi helios

      Those Noynoy fans are of a different breed. Every time I go to his FB fan page I feel like I don’t know my fellow countrymen anymore. It is so strange to read moronic messages that are full of “hope” even after evidence of P-Noy’s incompetence.

      Thanks! 🙂

      • No Idea says:

        @iiida.. I am not a Noynoy “fan”, he’s my friend and was my neighbor. I do agree with you everytime I read the FB page there are some “fans” who have this “desperate need” for some Messiah. LOL! I do not leave moronic messages… in fact, the last note I left about him was my fears about another “repeat” of 87 (brownouts… coups… disasters..)Because I am honestly biased ( I am like Starsky and Hutch yah know, my friends can never do wrong .. ) I can ONLY wish wish wish so BADDDDDD that he does things right. BTW, I like your writing style and you should write a book. REALLY. I agree with some people that the media should start “telling” him….

      • ilda says:

        Thanks No idea

        Since P-Noy is your friend, you would be in a better position to tell us if he is indeed capable of implementing the genuine change the country badly needs. From my point of view, I do not see it in him. Please do share to us your insight on what he is like as a person.

        I hope you can find a way to pass our suggestions like Charter Change and shift from presidential to parliamentary system.

      • No Idea says:

        Do you notice my handle name??? (that was a joke !) hahhahahahhaha!!! Well if he keeps leaving andf orgetting his phone.. umm.. seriously, we were younger then and he was a decent neighbor. I dount if he can do as well as FVR but he prolly can do something because he is REALLY sincere about his “intentions”. I HOPE he does BETTER than his mom, with no disrespect meant to Mrs. Aquino. I also wish that he pursues Charter Change btw.. which he probably won’t. Once I was so pissed about something, I actually went to his office (during Cory’s time) and he does respect “freedom of expression”. He’s not bad. He’s not vindictive. In fact, he listens.. I had my complaints then, I was pissed.. and he’s more a democrat than Cory or Gma or Erap. I think when a leader canlisten , that’s something.. problem is that perhaps, some of his closest people DO NOT listen. For nstance, if I were him, I’d be reading this blog to GET a “feel” of people… instead of getting mad. I wish he can do a LOT better than Cory.

    • Jay says:


      I even watched a media show try to play it out like it is terms of equality to have the report out for both China and the Philippines at the same time, considering that China gets their report in English and that it would be unfair for pinoys considering their lack of capability for understanding it.

      The event honestly wasn’t even handled EQUALLY well either, so of course the only party that really matters for the investigative side is the Chinese since they weren’t there. The Philippine side already KNOWS what went the f&^% wrong. The problem is no one wants to own up and everyone dumb f&^% is convinced otherwise.

      Especially the news about crisis awareness programs they are passing out around the news lately. And guess who gets to handle those programs? None other than the PNP, who were just as useless in the Quirino Grandstand Incident, but also during ONDOY! Which is startling since their job description doesn’t have to do much with physical damage control than another occupation that gets little money but would be the perfect fit for that: FIREFIGHTERS.

  3. NFA rice says:

    “Can we really believe the above considering that the statement is also insinuating that P-Noy’s instructions to use the PNP Special Action Force Crisis Response Group (SAF-CRG) landed on deaf ears? It sounds like fiction to me.”

    This is what entered my mind first when I read De Lima’s report. Right after the hostage incident, if I remember correctly, PNoy claimed that he let police force do what they think is best because he trusted in the capability of our policemen. This doesn’t seem to square in with his instructing the police to employ the SAF, per De Lima’s report. I suspect that the SAF order appeared in his mind only after the incident when lots of people asked why the SAF was not employed!

    And yes, if he indeed issued that order, WHEN did he do it? How do we verify that he made that command? What sort of President do we have when his own agents refuse to obey him in such a critical time?

    • ilda says:


      I don’t understand how they think no one will notice the inconsistencies considering they know that P-Noy’s critics are watching him.

      • palebluedot_ says:

        it goes to show that they have low regard on the Filipinos. they haven’t realized yet that there are still non-zombies left in this country. the questionable report they made is somewhat an insult to the intellectual capabilities of the Filipino people…

      • NFA rice says:

        PNoy said he is in control of the Philippines even when he is in the USA. He communicates with the Philippines via sms. But he left his cellphone. He eats hotdogs. Flips happy.

  4. ralliart1to3 says:

    PNOY is now hanging in the middle: to respond to foreign pressure or to his yellow bandits. I hope an article would also be written about the recent Jueteng allegations. Seems that USec. Puno is beyond exit of the wilderness. He has already filed his resignation but the oligarchy-backed president declined to accept it.

    Boy this administration is like a flopping house of cards! Every fault gets magnified day after day! :mrgreen:

    • ilda says:

      Since P-Noy has no conviction, it’s always going to be hard for him to decide which direction to go. He is not handling things anyway but his handlers are.

      • No Idea says:

        I agree withyou there.. you f***ckin don’t just leave your phone!!!!! What sort of company does this guy have that does NOT notice that he left his phone? Shouldn’t his people AT LEAST remind HIM??? I know that he used to carry his cell always.. I wonder what happened or maybe he had another phone? (I really think he has another unofficial or personal phone.. geesh.. if I were his Spokesman I would have thought of saying THAT!!!! )


    Inconsistencies in the palace are normal only, Have you read ABS-CB N issue today that pinoy left his phone?tsk tsk tsk… 😳 :mrgreen:

    • ilda says:

      Gosh, the sight of him talking while munching on his hotdog in NY was cringe worthy.

      • Jay says:

        Isn’t it funny? You are supposedly a new leader, EASY to access by many people of different walks of life (at least before his stupid statement regarding that) and by coincidence during a crisis, you start misplacing items for communication? I love it!

        Another crisis happens, all of a sudden Prez and his staff decide to ditch their prized 10K+ peso cellies and just hang out at the Emerald garden until it is all over. Then have your 3 headed hydra and maybe college students desperate for work control the PR until the shitstorm subsides.

    • m. kasahara says:

      …another reason to bang my head across the Walls of China.

  6. Sareet L says:

    Great post, per usual.

    I, too, read the report with a terrible sense of foreboding, knowing the tragic outcome to the events that could have been avoided.

    The most glaring thing to me was the inclusion (in a sneaky, ‘pa-daplis’ manner) of that alleged ‘order’ supposedly issued by the Prez about the use of the SAF – pure fiction, first time I ever heard of this, and obviously added only in this report. Why did he not state that supposed fact in his media ‘interview’ then? And as you say above, he says he left it up to the police authorities to do as they saw fit. Very easy to debunk this ‘fact’ – just post a link to the video of the Prez stating specifically that he left the handling of the situation to the police people and juxtapose that with this ‘finding’ in the IIRC report.

    Still don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the continued stupidities being done in relation to this incident.

    Oh, and I totally agree with your first point about our need to give China/HK priority in releasing the findings. So spot on is your point about these complainers’ hot air re the supposed trampling on our sovereignty! Mga Pinoy – as usual, that false pride again, panay ang amor propio at pakitang-tao lang ang iniintindi. All flash and no substance. Hay, naku.

    • ilda says:

      Hi Sareet

      It was a long report but there were things that stood out and were too obvious to people like us. De Lima probably thought that he could squeeze that little detail in without anyone noticing. Anyone can Google this information and their prior statement about being in a “closed door meeting” will pop out.

      Filipinos are once again distracted by P-Noy’s hotdog eating show in NY and Charice’s debut in Glee. Never mind about the findings of the IIRC because they need to move on. Pathetic.

    • ilda says:

      Thanks for the link Jayavarman

      Keeping his friends close by is “daang matuwid” for him.

    • palebluedot_ says:

      hebephrenia (smiling dog) + querulant delusions (evidenced by: “if all these people who are close to us are removed and replaced by those who are not as close, the next group could already be our enemies”) + flight of ideas (as evidenced by the observation: “his messages have been as coherent as a Manila traffic jam.”). aren’t all these related to the cancer of all psychiatric disorders – schizophrenia?

  7. Aegis-Judex says:

    Great. PNoy spent 50+ bucks for a hotdog and 15K for consultants(:!:). Where’s the justice in that?! With CGMA, that 20K dinner pretty much raised the bar ( 😯 ), but as far as I can recall, she didn’t need consultants in her stay in NY… did she( ❓ )?

    • No Idea says:

      Here’s the video.. some may find it “funny”. I have no comment YET. Were those guys the ones in the media just fed hot dog? ummmm.. I doubt it. Yep, 15 million for PR is kinda steep.. but still that would depend on what we can “get” OUT of THAT TRIP….

      • Aegis-Judex says:

        It was 15K, not 15M. Only 5K less GMA’s dinner. But still, what he skimped on food he made up for on PR? Good Lord, as if the fvck doesn’t have plenty of PR reps polishing his backside for the Aquinolaters to behold.

      • No Idea says:

        Oh yeah how do you think they choose the coverage???? I am sure TFC (ABS-CBN) is ONit again eh?

    • ChinoF says:

      This was an obvious show-off attempt to try to compare favorably to Dr. Gloria M. Arroyo, who was slammed for eating at Le Cirque. He thinks eating hotdogs on the street is “pro-poor” so he broadcasts this thing. He only shows that he is still in campaign mode… even when his campaign is running out of steam… and all common sense.

      Some of Ignoy’s supporters are wondering why he acts funny today… we knew that he was always like that! 🙄

      BTW, on hotdogs, I endorse Rockets hotdogs in Shopwise Commonwealth… 😛 (Dang, that made me hungry)

    • Jay says:

      PGMA spent 20k to continue a sustained friendship with those in the government. As PNOY finds now, its rather difficult to play politics when everyone isn’t in the same page. He just spent 15k or more to clean up his image, which is typical since his sycophants care more about it than anything.

      And honestly, I’ve laid off the hot dogs myself. To Pinoys, it represents childhood and part of sustenance for those with simpler living. But for those who moved on and value their health, its just more processed food crap.

  8. Hyden Toro says:

    If you have a Hostage Crisis, about 20 Km., from where you are. You claim, you are in a meeting. What would you do? This is a good question to our leaders who aspire to become the next President. Noynoy Aquino claimed, he did not want to be interrupted of his meeting. Presumably, he waited in his secure area in Malalcanang. Allowed his Subordinates to deal with the life and death crisis situation. He did not even return call to Governor Tsang of Hong Kong. Allowed the Crisis Command Control Center to be relocated to Emerald Restaurant. Did not order the best people, that were available to deal with the situation. Would you had done any better? His innate characteristic is: he is not a take charge person. He does not know when to react in a crisis situation. He has undeniably: Poor Judgment. The incident has passed. It is a good lesson to all of us; both in choosing a good leader, and dealing with a crisis situation. :mrgreen:

  9. Hyden Toro says:

    To Mr. Joker Arroyo: You have to protect the interests of the people who voted you in office. Your loyalty must not be to Noynoy Aquino. You are making yourself a real-life Joker. People are not that stupid, as you think. You are tying the unfortunate tragic Hostage Incident to Philippine Nationalism and Honor. It is just the result of the Negligence of one man; Nonoy Aquino. He happens to be the Commander-in-Chief, at the time of incident. It has nothing to do with Philippine Honor and Nationalism. 😮

  10. ulong pare says:

    … daaaaaang! …a ficftional IIRC report from an enchanted kingdom… what else y’all want? …the sound of silence…. bwi hi hi hi hi pwi… :mrgreen:

  11. kuliglig says:

    Correction: The Philippine government received the IIRC report first, before sending a copy to the Chinese Government. Please tell me WHY do the public need this report FIRST and what are we going to use it for other than gossip mongering? Why do the Filipino public need it first?

    Furthermore, it is a big mistake to make any press liable for doing what it needs to do. After all, the crisis management is the one who failed to coordinate with the press.

    • ilda says:


      Correction: I am not the one making a big deal out of who got the report first. Try telling that to some of the Congressmen and Senators who are making a fuss about it. Anyway, they were questioning the availability of the report to the PUBLIC. Are you trying to be silly?

      Furthermore, it was a big mistake for radio reporter Michael Rogas of Radio Mo Network (RMN) to have kept the only phone available busy. He should have realised that professional hostage negotiators should be the ones talking to Rolando instead of him. Same with Erwin Tulfo who should have stayed behind the cordoned area. The TV networks also showed footages of Gregorio’s arrest which agitated Rolando even more.

      At the end of the day, ask yourself this: Did the actions of the journalists help the situation get worse or not?

      • KKK says:

        i read the report A FEW HOURS after a copy was given to the chinese embassy. it is the media’s fault for not disseminating it to the people right after it was made available. NOW, Lagman is still waiting for his copy. are his staff as dinosaur as him??

      • Kuliglig says:

        “At the end of the day, ask yourself this: Did the actions of the journalists help the situation get worse or not?”

        Well, I think, when the hostage taker refused to talk the the police negotiators and would only talk to the media men, the police should have used the media to continue the negotiation. Is it justice to blame the media for violating a CRISIS PROCEDURE that wasn’t given in the first place?

  12. While it has been previously and widely reported that the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) were left for the review of the President’s “legal team” composed of ES Ochoa and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Ed de Mesa, it turned out everybody was just taken for a ride.

    Simply put, the “legal committee” was constituted so that the report may be “simplified for the President” – Ochoa’s words.

  13. Kremlin says:

    After reading the report, first thing that came to my mind is this: If all these people are included in this list, why wasn’t PNOY included?!

    and all those pictures of him eating hotdogs are so nauseating! it’s another PR stunt people! and you continue to lap it up! i hate to admit this, but obviously, most FIlipinos are indeed morons!

    • KKK says:

      why do you expect PNOY to be included if you based it on the IIRC report?

    • frustratedcitizen says:

      ‘…and you continue to lap it up! i hate to admit this, but obviously, most FIlipinos are indeed morons!’

      coz the masses wants a leader like them, so there you go, someone who’s lazy, incompetent, and indeed that makes our current prez and the masses morons, hehe!

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  15. frustratedcitizen says:

    Pnoy was inaugurating someone during the time of the hostage crisis, I saw that link to the yahoo news somewhere here in AP weeks ago(?)… I’ll try to find that link and post it here…

    • ilda says:

      I don’t think I read that one. I read about the “closed door meeting” though.

      • frustratedcitizen says:

        damn.. i saw that link on one post and reposted it on another at some point in time… i’ve spent hours yesterday looking for that link…the link is inside one of the posts related to the hostage taking crisis

  16. frustratedcitizen says:

    help anyone? can’t seem to find that yahoo news link that states where the prez was during the time of the hostage crisis… i’ve seen that link a few times here in AP, but that was a while ago…

  17. killem says:

    i do not agree that a report should be given to china… we should not even apologize for it…..

    first, its a slap on sovereignty of RP to apologize to china…
    second, the tourist assume the risk.. (you cannot expect a 1st class police force, in a third world country).
    third, from my point of view of the incidence, the police did what during that time, what they think was best interest of the hostage (judgement call).
    fourth, on the assault, even if the SWAT are ill-equip they did what they trained to do (or not trained) risking their life. w/o proper protection.
    fifth, its the right of the filipino to know the whole IRRC report for because, they are the one whos  paying the salaries of the official.
    sixth, it is the peace and security of the filipino that had been disturb, not the Chinese.
    lastly,  the way the global politics is shaping up, it is the chinese that need us, much more than we need them…

  18. Pingback: Que horror! President Noynoy Aquino failed to watch the Manny Pacquiao fight! | Get Real Post

  19. Pingback: Picking up where PNoy failed: Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada apologises for 2010 massacre of Hong Kong hostages « Get Real Post

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