9 months ago, at least 62 policemen participated in the worse massacre in Philippines history: the Maguindanao massacre. Then last week, at least 9 of them, although their numbers should swell as more evidence are uncovered, were also involved in a torture witnessed in every living room in the country courtesy of a cell phone video broadcasted by one of the country’s television giants. Two days ago, there was yet another action packed event- only like the torture- it was not a production of a television company. It was for real, and yes, it involved again policemen- one with gripes, and many others who were simply incompetent. With policemen like this, who will protect us?

I do confess having missed much of action at Luneta as it was televised live by Philippine media organizations. . Thanks to the digital age though, I learned about the hostage taking incident almost as soon as it happened through twitter on my blackberry. While checking in at T-3 headed for Bacolod City, I did manage to read further accounts about the incident on the Internet in my blackberry. I boarded my flight thinking that like a similar “bus jacking” incident in Manila that involved a school bus, this too would pass since apparently, the hostage taker has agreed to wait it out for authorities to heed his demand for reinstatement into the service. I arrived in my hotel in Bacolod at about 5PM and was pleased to have seen on cable that as I predicted, both hostage taker and the police have agreed to wait it out. I then went to my dinner meeting confident that although we would be embarrassed tremendously because the incident involved foreigners, it would nonetheless come to pass.

At about 7PM and well into my meeting, I received a tweet that shooting had commenced. Subsequent tweets erroneously reported that all hostages and the gunmen have been killed. I announced this in my meeting and the responses ranged from shock to anger, and even to despair. Many thought that this was the last thing that the country needed even with a brand new reform oriented leader. There was an overwhelming consensus amongst Negrenses that PNoy would find it very difficult to recover from this incident.

On hindsight, two factors made the incident a real tragedy. First, there was the obvious incompetence of the policemen who decided to arrest the brother of the hostage taker in full view of the cameras. While both the police and media may not have known it, there apparently was a television on board the bus that enabled the hostage taker to know what was happening in his environment. Certainly, the more prudent thing to do should have been to quietly apprehend the brother assuming they had basis in apprehending him in the first place. But no, they had to make a spectacle out of it.

That was not the only evidence of incompetence. By 7PM, the police had already decided to assault the bus as in fact; they came near it replete with dramatic footages of one of them seeking to gain entry into the bus forcibly. Strangely, after using a giant mallet to break open the door of the bus, the police froze and waited! Meanwhile, the lone gunman has violently responded and killed at least 9 of his victims. It took a whole hour for the police to use teargas and bring the hostage taker down.

The point to underscore is that this incompetence on the part of our security force is not isolated. It was this same incompetence that led 62 of them to be involved in the Maguindanao massacre and at least 9 of them to be involved in that highly publicized case of torture. The question is: why such incompetence?

Perhaps a clue may be had in the recruitment process that is being implemented in the PNP. For instance, in Maguindanao before the massacre, PNP insiders told me that recruitment into the ARMM PNP was on the basis of “3 for1”. That meant 3 recruits for 1 million pesos. In other words, those desirous of entering the PNP had to buy their position. This is also apparently the case in other governmental agencies such as the Bureau of Immigration, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs. With public servants having bought their appointments, little wonder that they would give priority to return on their investments over discharge of public service. This would explain why incompetence in the PNP is more of the rule rather than the exception.

The second factor that made Luneta such a tragedy was the manner by which media handled the situation. Make no mistake about it: I have always been an advocate of freedom of expression and of free press primarily because I have been tactless and possess a big mouth. But when you have the media broadcasting for the hostage taker everything happening around him, even the arrest of his brother, in real time, which in turn provoked him to be violent after waiting it out for 11 hours; one cannot help but conclude that police incompetence notwithstanding, the media should accept part of the blame for this tragedy.

Again to be absolutely clear, I am not in favor of any act of the state restricting the activities of the media. That to me would be tantamount to prior restraint and hence, unconstitutional. What I am in favor of is the exercise of voluntary restraint on the part of the media, particularly in incidents such as this, where their coverage could literally mean the difference between life and death.

To be fair to the media, the public at large too is partly to be blamed. The “usisero” syndrome is such a Filipino trait that one can understand the media’s desire pander to the gallery. Perhaps, this could be one of the lessons learned from this tragedy. That in our desire to be at the center of things that are happening, our curiosity could contribute to the death of others. #30#



  1. Rey Chai says:

    Kasalanan ng Ombudsman ang nangyari dahil inupuan ang kaso. madali tanggapin ang desisyon kung ito ay naayon sa batas at dapat makunbinsi ang losing party na talagang siya ang mali. sa ombudsman ang may pera at kapangyarihan ang nananalo tahasang binababoy ang batas. pulis incompetent talaga yan kasi wala sa hulog ang mga napapatakbo kaya ang mga rank and file wala din sa huhlog. follow the leader.

  2. Renato Pacifico says:

    The “usisero” made what it became to be known as EDSA Accidental Revolution. The unsung heroes, the first-responders, of EDSA Revolution were the “usiseros”. They were not there to revolution, they were there to witness who the victors would be between two corrupt camps.

  3. Renato Pacifico says:

    The church, businessmen, politicans came out in EDSA Accidental Revolution when it was safe for them to come out and stole the revolution from the unemployed, unemployables, Bar-B-Q vendors, cigarette vendors, iced-water vendors, the tsismosos and tsismosas. They were the unsung heroes who were never acknowledge in the oblivious Philippine media.

  4. Renato Pacifico says:–expert

    A competent defense attorney can spring Mayor Ampatuan from prison because there is an INHERENT FORENSIC BLUNDERS in investigation. Ampatuan should thank the clueless bumbling bungling SWAT Team.

    Also, benign0 Aquino’s media said it was bungled because they didn’t deploy the SUPER SWAT! What? Didn’t now that! (read And benign0 Aquino is also forming another SWAT Team. Called ELITE SWAT! WoW! Galing Filipino!

  5. Renato Pacifico says:

    The freest of the press in Asia, the Philippine journalists donnot mention benign0 Aquino in the same sentence with blunders and SWAT. benign0’s media is overly protective of their media darling. Well, it was not the Filipinos who elected benign0 it was the media.

  6. Renato Pacifico says:

    China is ordering benign0 around. No to Philippine Flag for Mendoza. Yes, Sir. Send in China’s personal investigator. Yes, Sir. Stop the picture-taking with the bus as back-drop. Yes, Sir.

    Explain to China why the bus was peppered with bullets from the outside. Explain to China with all the pandemonium and bungling they were able to shot Mendoza cleanly right between the eyes. Whose guns killed the hostages? China asked for ballistic test. benign0 gave 200 guns! So, there were 200 SWAT, SUPER SWAT and ELITE SWAT at the crime scene! China is not Philippines. They only asked for those who were involved in “comical” rescue NOT 200 firearms. Something is totally wrong with Filipinos.

    Like what I said, what good is a good president if the rest are not.

  7. Renato Pacifico says:

    If only the idiot peryodistas attacked the process and personnel that handled investigation of ZTE, Failon, Ces Drilon and others instead of attacking Gloria directly, we’d have rid of these incompetent monkeys.

    But anti-Gloria preferred it that way. So, benign0 is saddled by the same people Gloria has had that caused Gloria’s downfall.

  8. Renato Pacifico says:


  9. Renato Pacifico says:

    “Tulfo was invited as a resource person in the hearing as he was able to interview Mendoza a few minutes before he purportedly shot the Chinese hostages at point blank range.”

    Instead of saying “…before he shot the Chinese…” they used “PURPORTEDLY”!!! WoW! What a fresh whiff of “responsible journalism”. IF IT WERE NOT CHINESE national “purportedly” wouldn’t have been inserted in the news report. Idiocy of all peryodistas is bottomless, has no beginning and no end. Idiot peryodistas better watch their tongue. They are dealing with the awakened tiger. They may not have perfect english, yet, they have better minds than foreign-educated-ivy-school-english speaking Filipinos.

  10. Renato Pacifico says:

    Chinese survivor corroborated the tourist bus driver that Mendoza shot the hostages “one-by-one”. Therefore, IT WAS NOT BUNGLED RESCUE OPERATION AFTER ALL! Assuming the Chinese government is not arm-twisting the survivors.

    Hmmm … there is so much inconsistencies in news reports, the actuations of respective government officials, the gossips, innuendoes … SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT. Well, two 3rdworld countries are talking to each other in 3rdworld terms.

    I knew it. PHilippines will grant ZTE contract to Chinese over 8 dead bodies.

  11. Renato Pacifico says:

    There is a cover-up here. Totally! I cannot believe a bus driver who is not trained in picking cuffs, picked it with precision like in the movies in the height of Mendoza’s alleged killing of hostages. HA!HA!HA! It is impossible. I want this bus driver to show to me how he did it.

    2nd question, 60 bullet casings, bullet riddled bus from top to bottom and not one hostages killed by friendly fire?

    If this has happened in the U.S. Americans will be laughing dead. But since, this is a country where foreign-educated-ivy-school graduates are so dumb that they cannot tell a fiction from truth.

    I thank the Filipinos for being clueless and oblivious and stupid, this way my parents remittance will have more value.

  12. Renato Pacifico says:

    Someone is wheeling and dealing over 8 dead Chinese. Goliath versus David. Of course Goliath wins and David just follow.

    • Renato Pacifico says:

      Well, of course, Filipinos are for sale to the highest bidder even for a can of sardines and kilo of rice. Since China is the 2nd largest economy, China can buy anyone including the lords ….. of jueteng 🙂

  13. Renato Pacifico says:

    HA!HA!HA! Lima just submitted the bungled probe story to Benign0 today and yet The idyot peryodistas already knew the result days prior.



  14. Renato Pacifico says:

    HA!HA!HA! Lima just submitted the bungled probe story to Benign0 today and yet The idyot peryodistas already knew the result days prior.



  15. Renato Pacifico says:

    Will the Lima probe ever happen if the hostages were Filipinos? Would there be important people get involved if the victims were brown-skin-punked nose not tisoy o tisay?


  16. Renato Pacifico says:

    China gets IIRC reports first before public – Palace

    Yet Lima is already pagarparings to the public and idyot peryodistas are clueless and oblivious about it!


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