Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why an apology on behalf of the Filipino people for the Mendoza hostage massacre incident is needed

According to Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, the August 23, 2010 hostage incident perpetrated by retired police officer Rolando Mendoza that resulted in the deaths of eight Hong Kong tourists was an "act of one man". As such it is this one man that should be blamed and not the Philippine Government. Perhaps so, but then entire mechanisms, capabilities, and systems that should have been in place to manage the situation and save lives fall squarely under government responsibility. The police and various state crisis management agencies collectively failed to work together seamlessly to prevent the carnage.

A formal apology by the President on behalf of the Filipino people is, perhaps, in order. The tragedy is a systemic failure that transcends any one person and, as such, there may never be a single person involved to which blame can be pinned. But then the fact remains that there are systemic issues inherent to Philippine society that were at play during the tragic incident and still remain unaddressed in its aftermath. And, for that, apologies are owed to the victims. President Aquino being the leader of the Filipino people needs to step up to the the task of representing his people in a time when reflection and instrospection among them are in such short supply.


  1. I agree that the Mendoza hostage massacre is symptomatic of a systemic problem, and I also agree that we should at least apologize. If we apologize, that would mean that we acknowledge the problem. PNoy can hide behind the fact that it is a systemic problem to abdicate responsibility.

    For me however, the more important question is how do we fix it? In order to instill discipline on the police force, the "Rule of Law" paradigm has to permeate the government hierarchy, from top to bottom. In order for the Rule of Law to apply, the laws themselves have to be rational. Rational laws are required, but to generate rational laws, the fundamental law of the land also has to be rational. The only part in our 1987 Constitution that is rational is the Bill of Rights. Everything else in that constitution is difficult if not impossible to implement. Take for example the clause on the environment: it is too vague and too general.

  2. Iyon ay fair pagsusuri sa paksang apology, Benign0.

  3. Well if Japan who started World War II, perpetrated the rape of Nanking in China and horrible atrocities in Philippines and other Southeast asian countries, until now could not apologize for their dastardly act ... I see no reason PNoy and the Philippines should apologized as a country.
    We as a country did not commit the act or our society's systemic failure cause the act.
    All should be careful of asking a sovereign country like the Philippines to apologize for an act of an individual citizen as it becomes a precedent and could be used in the future incidents.


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