[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Charges over Philippine bus rescue
Prosecutors seek to charge up to 10 people over a failed hostage rescue that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2010 08:20 GMT
The enquiry uncovered a litany of mistakes by police and other officials assigned to handle the hostage crisis [AFP]

The Philippine justice secretary has announced that she will seek criminal and administrative charges against at least 10 officials, police and journalists following last month's killing of eight Hong Kong tourists who were held hostage on a bus in Manila, the Philippine capital.

Leila de Lima did not identify the individuals to be charged, or detail the charges but said "high enough" when asked about the ranks of those facing charges.

"We have [had] discussions on specific accountabilities of specific officers and [other] personalities," de Lima said on Thursday.

"We expect the president to act on the basis of our recommendation."

Killed by hostage-taker

She also said that all eight tourists, who died when a sacked policeman hijacked the bus, were killed by him.

"Based on the survivors' accounts, they were really killed by the hostage-taker," de Lima insisted, officially dispelling initial doubts expressed by some of the investigators who hinted that some of the victims were struck by police gunfire.

De Lima said the panel would seek sanctions against "more or less 10" individuals to be identified in the report on the botched handling of the August 23 hostage crisis, hinting that apart from police officers and civilian officials, certain journalists could be among those facing potential sanctions.

Pressure on president

Marga Ortigas, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Manila, said it will be up to the president to disclose the rest of the detail in the report to the public.

"The panel doesn't have responsibilities [to act on the findings], they can only make recommendations," she said.

"Benigno Aquino [president of the Philippines] has already promised that heads will roll. De Lima said she expects the president to stick to that promise.

"There is a lot of pressure [for this situation to be handled well]. People are afraid Aquino might not be up to the challenge he faces leading this troubled country."

The enquiry uncovered a litany of mistakes by police and other officials assigned to handle the hostage crisis.

On September 7, the Philippine government said the media had agreed to new restrictions on covering police operations - including limits on live broadcasts

The high-level enquiry, headed by de Lima herself, is scheduled to submit its findings to Aquino on Friday.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Indonesia's digerati could be crucial to success in the country's upcoming presidential election.
How Brazil's football legend turned every Corinthians' match into a political meeting for democracy.
As the Pakistani army battles Taliban forces, civilians in North Waziristan face an arduous escape for relative safety.
Nepalese trade in a libido-boosting fungus is booming but experts warn over-exploitation could destroy ecosystem.
Featured
Sri Lanka refugees stranded on a boat near Australia's shoreline are in legal limbo and fear torture if sent home.
The death of Hamed Shehab on Wednesday in an Israeli air strike has triggered fear and anger among journalists in Gaza.
Israel's strategy in Gaza remains uncertain, as internal politics are at play for PM Netanyahu.
Greece is holding as many as 6,000 migrants in detention centres, in conditions that have been called appalling.
Long derided for trivialising women, Bollywood is shrugging off its trademark social apathy by upping anti-rape crusade.
join our mailing list