The chief of police in the Philippine capital on Tuesday admitted shortcomings in the handling of a hostage-taking incident that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.
Director Leocadio Santiago said that while police followed the correct procedures in handling Monday’s hijacking of a tourist bus, he noted some deficiencies.
“We saw some obvious shortcomings in terms of capability and tactics used or the procedures employed and we are now going to investigate this,” he told a local television station.
Police officers and security officials from Hong Kong arrived on Tuesday in the Philippines to monitor the investigation into the incident.
The Hong Kong government has criticized the handling of the hostage crisis and urged its nationals in Manila to return to Hong Kong immediately.
Police stormed the seized bus in a seaside park in Manila after the hostage-taker, sacked police officer Rolando Del Rosario Mendoza, fired several shots inside the bus.
Santiago said they assaulted the bus after the Filipino driver, who escaped when Mendoza started firing his assault rifle inside the vehicle, told police that the hostages were all dead.
“When the driver escaped and reported that he (Mendoza) has started killing the hostages, that was the time that the ground commander started to assault the bus,” he said.
Initially, there were a total of 25 hostages inside the bus but the hostage-taker released nine of them - six Chinese nationals and three Filipinos - in the course of the negotiations.
Eight of the remaining Chinese hostages were killed while seven survived with injuries and the driver fled. The hostage-taker was shot dead by a sniper, police said.
President Benigno Aquino III ordered Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to conduct an investigation into the incident.