The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) urged president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to reform the police and quit putting the blame on others as reaction to the bloody Manila hostage-taking drama. The group said that Aquino issued his statement very late and lacks conviction as he tried to smokescreen the police forces’ incompetence by putting the blame on the media’s real-time coverage of the incident.
“Aquino’s statement mainly puts the blame on media and not on his police force. It is also very slack that they have counted the casualty during the actual press briefing in front of the media and reported 7 casualty when there were 8 hostages killed,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General in a press statement.
The group said that Manila Police Department’s (MPD) incompetence and poor equipment, particularly of its Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team were witnessed by the world but MPD Chief Gen. Rodolfo Magtibay pushed through its assault. But Aquino put a significant blame on the media saying it limited the actions of the assault team.
Ramos said that Gen. Magtibay ordered the demolition of the peasant camp-out at Mendiola bridge on July 3, 2010 where 42 peasant activists were arrested and 3 seriously injured. The peasant camp-out was to demand Aquino to put land reform on his agenda during his first 100-day administration.
The group believed that the hostage-taking was a symptom of the chronic corruption in the police force as it is very disturbing that a bemedalled cop Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza who was once awarded as being one of the “Ten Most Outstanding Police,” transformed into a violent and desperate hostage-taker. The group said that the story behind the hostage-taking should be fully investigated and reforms should be immediately implemented by the Aquino government and corruption within the police and military, as well as the whole government should be wiped out to avoid similar incidents.
KMP said that the Aquino government is likewise responsible for the heightened situation of the hostage-taking that resulted 8 deaths of Hongkong nationals. President Aquino through his Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang, said that he would not meddle with the situation so as not to boost the morale of the hostage-taker as early as noon. The group said that again he adopted a “hands-off” attitude same as he did to the Hacienda Luisita issue.
“Aquino is consistent to keep his hands off of sensitive issues, abdicating his duties as president. He plays safe thinking he would be blamed for any unfavorable outcome,” Ramos said.
“It is clear that Aquino didn’t know that it is very dangerous for a hostage-taking to take so long. He did nothing to immediately end the crisis, inconsiderate that the hostages were Hongkong nationals. In addition, he never had the diplomatic courtesy to inform and appease Hongkong Chief Executive Donald Tsang and blundered an excuse that he was not informed of his call,” Ramos added.
The group said that the Aquino government even implied that Chief Executive Tsang was lying about the call when Aquino’s media official Herminio Coloma doubted the call took place. The next day, they retracted their statement and excused again the Chief Executive Tsang did not follow the proper protocol of informing first the Dept. of Foreign Affairs.
“The Aquino government is full of blunders, the latest to date was Aquino’s smirking during his visit at the crime scene. He doesn’t seem to know internalize the seriousness of the situation as he still had the nerve to smile in front of the camera,” said Ramos.
The group said that it is joining the Hongkong people’s grief over the death of their fellow citizens and they would incorporate the call for justice in their massive campaign for genuine land reform in the country and justice for victims of rights abuses, primarily perpetrated by the police and military.
“The Filipino people, particularly the peasants are also victims of the police and military. We are primary targets of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and political persecutions and this very president who claim he is for change and democracy is extending the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya (Operational Plan Guard Freedom). Thus, we support the Hongkong people’s call for justice and expose Aquino’s incompetencies and anti-people programs,” Ramos said.