command responsibility 3

Trip of high-level delegation cancelled (5:13 p.m.)
Thursday, August 26

MANILA — The flight of high-level delegation formed by the President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to explain Monday’s hostage crisis to China and Hong Kong governments has been cancelled Thursday.

The members of the high-level delegation composing Vice President Jejomar Binay, Local Government Secretary, Jesse Robredo and Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda were supposed to fly to Beijing, China today.

But in a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs, it said that they are still awaiting for the confirmation from the Chinese government.

“The Philippine government has planned for a high-level delegation to visit the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong Special Administration Region, and is awaiting confirmation from the Chinese side on the arrangement that will ensure that the mission of the planned visit is achieved,” text message from the DFA forwarded by Palace Ricky Carandang read.

It added that proper announcement will be made regarding the schedule of the trip. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

hello?   mr. president?   you should have taken mr. tsang’s call. you should have expected he would call to ask about his people — wouldn’t you, in his place?   and you should have been ready and able to take whatever he had to dish out, AND to defend your strategy of waiting it out, AND to be open to his suggestions.   after all, the lives of 15 hong kong nationals were at stake.   after all, it was past 4 p.m., over six hours of horribly dangerous captivity for his people, and he must have wanted assurance that something everything was being done to effect their rescue.   he absolutely deserved to be listened to.   so, really, nakakagulat ba, masakit ba, that you we are now getting the silent treatment from mr. tsang?   tit for tat.   a painful snub for a painful painful snub.   maybe until heads start rolling?

meanwhile the senate hearing at least clears up one thing: it wasn’t just the media coverage of the brother’s drama resisting arrest that angered the hostage-taker.   it was also the ombudsman’s letter — basura daw — because it failed to give him what he was asking for.   and it was also the brother’s appeal not to give up until his gun (the brother’s) had been returned.   so let’s go easy on media.   i was watching tv all day; and i’m glad it was covered live by media because if not, we would be bogged down now by questions of what really happened rather than why.  yes the coverage got excessive as the drama escalated, and yes, the scoop mentality ruled at that point, so yes, next time, they should know enough to draw a line.

meanwhile on anc right now it’s manila’s mayor and vice-mayor and some cops again going through isko’s narrative of his negotiations with mendoza.   what i want to know is, it was six pm by the time he delivered that letter from the ombudsman, and it wss the first serious response to the hostage-taker’s demand?  it took them all of eight hours to come up with “garbage”?

i just saw a recreation (computer animation) of what supposedly happened inside the bus when mendoza went bloody mad, and it’s horrendous and heartbreaking.  reminds me that i kept wondering, while watching that silent bus off in the distance, what was going on inside, what was it like exactly for the hostages all throughthose horrible hours.   we were seeing nothing, hearing nothing, it was easy to believe everything was cool, and under control…

i wonder now, what if the media had been a little curious about the hostages, sino-sino ba ang nasa loob, how many males, females, kids, elders, teens. it should have been easy enough to find some pictures of them, show us their faces, remind us, and the police, and the palace, that there were, those were, real persons in there…   and what if the police had managed to stick a tiny high-tech microphone device somewhere that allowed us, them to hear what was being said, cried, screamed inside the bus…   then maybe there would have been more of a sense of urgency from the first hour?   and the police would have known not to believe the escaped driver, not everyone was dead?

yes, we’re all experts on hindsight.   for me it’s a coping mechanism.   helps me sleep nights.


  1. Romulo should have insisted that Pres Aquino call HK head of govt within the first 60 minutes of the standoff and not wait for Tsang to call first.

    Failing to do this basic act was excecrable foreign affairs exercise of the worst order.

  2. manuelbuencamino


    I was praising your honesty not making fun of you.

    Anyway, everyone tried their best to make it end peacefully and when the negotiations collapsed the ill-equipped cops risked getting shot doing all they could to save as many hostages as possible.

    Like I said in a comment in your previous post, let the cops do a post-operation review so they don’t repeat the same mistakes when they do another assault in the next hostage situation.

    I also believe that, in a hostage situation, events are really in the hands of the hostage-taker unless of course he is taken out. Kasi the whole negotiation process is very iffy. Hostage negotiation is mind games. So its success depends on the hostage-taker’s state of mind and that can change from moment to moment, like what we saw last Monday.

    Ang sama lang talaga nung assault. But that can be corrected. And hopefully it will because if I’m ever in a similar situation I wouldn’t want keystone cops trying to save me.

  3. It took a deranged man to expose our dysfunctional country. From the pnp, ombudsman, local officials, to the media, the president and the people(usi). everyone has contributed to this tragic end.

    Can we rise up from this slump? Sure we can. But not unless we learn the lessons of the past. Not unless we admit to ourselves that it takes a whole village to raise a child. It’s a collective incompetence from all of us, including me who chose to leave the country. But we definitely could be proud again…someday.

  4. i would agree with you that Pnoy’s mistake is not communicating directly with mr tsang. huge, incomprehensible error made due to diplomatic protocol. (it seems he wanted the foreign sec to talk with him…)

    but i dont agree that Pnoy is to blame for the decisions of the ground commander. in no other place do we expect tactical decision making by a national politician. in fact, in every other place, people dislike national politicians to interfere with local decision making.

    this isnt Pnoy’s mess. its the PNP’s shame and mess.

  5. “incomprehensible error made due to diplomatic protocol. (it seems he wanted the foreign sec to talk with him…)”

    1. Lacierda’s first expalanation was that he was in a meeting. more explanations came later.

    more explanation, more confusion that it became more unbelievable… according to coloma or was it carandang?

    2.command responsibility does not only refer to the liability of a leader for what his subordinates did but also for what he did not do himself.

    crazy principle?

    When a family friend was accused of malversation of funds which his subordinate committed on the ground of command responsibility, I thought it was crazy too. He was suspended indefinitely until the resolution of the case. His retirement benefits and pension were put on hold; The case dragged on for years. The only good thing that resulted in the trial was that his lawyer’s daughter finished medicine. thanks to his retainer’s fees.

    One author wrote, you can delegate authority but not responsibility.

    At yan ang tinutumbok ni angela.

  6. UP nn grad

    Another emergency is heading towards Pilipinas. Rice prices to rise!

    Reason — grain prices are rising. Major grain exporter Russia has seen one-third of its crop wiped out by the worst drought in a century.
    To prevent inflation and ensure supplies for Russian tables and livestock, the Russian government banned all grain exports from Aug. 15 to Dec. 31. The news has sent crop prices soaring by over 70% , wheat prices now at two-year high of nearly $8 a bushel, from just about $4.50 in early June. Grain exporters (USA, Brazil, Australia) happy; grain importers (Egypt, Bangladesh) unhappy. Pilipinas? Uninformed.

  7. jojie umali-riyadh

    Command responsibility was placed on the shoulders of Mayor Lim and Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno as the most senior poltiicians of our local government heading the Crisis Committee since the hostage was under their jurisdiction.. the “pipitsugin” Vice-Mayor Moreno was able to obtained an Ombudsman letter which changed temporarily the mood of the hostage-taker and released a potential victims. Unfortunately, the media tried to make a “scoop” out of the lull and the rest was a milittary botch operations. Should we blame the national politicians or the peace negotiator???

  8. Hi! I have lived here in Hongkong for the past 20 yrs. I would just like to give you guys a glimpse of how it is right now and an insight into theminds of the Hongkong people.
    I work with mostly locals and some Filipinos, and at first It was very awkward for my friends and I to go back to work, we didn’t know how face our colleagues and what reception we will get.A colleague said she had her head bowed for the first part of their meeting and she could feel all eyes on her,until the manager said “let’s not talk about it”. we really just hang our head in shame as Hongkong has been our “second home” for over 20 years. We did get the cold shoulder from some people at work, and instead of bearing the silence some more I just opened the topic myself by saying how sorry I was that it happened. And that we Filipinos feel so frustrated ourselves at the way it was handled and that we feel for them too. Then,they opened up and expressed their anger as well. Three major points they are upset about and they ask me:
    A. Why did he have to smile? ( noy has already apologized, too late though, damage has been done)
    B. Why compare to the Russian opera house incident? It’s totally different they said. He was making excuses, why not just apologize they said and promise to do his best to resolve the matter? ( The HK people are very straightforward, they don’t like paligoy-ligoy and palusot.)
    C. He didn’t look sincere on TV, no empathy in his demeanor.

    after our talk, and i told them how we feel, then they were very receptive and said that it’s not the “Filipinos'” fault, just the government’s.they also said that I don’t need to be embarassed. The way I see what they want is so simple..Huwag na paligoy ligoy, deal with it. No excuses. Apologize. Then they are receptive. Life here is so busy , so it’s always deal with the “now”.

  9. thanks, jack, for sharing what it’s like for you filipinos in hong kong these days. it can’t be easy. i just so wish our president had it in him to issue a straightforward i-screwed-up no-excuses i-am-sorry to the bereaved families and traumatized survivors as well as to the entire hongkong community and chinese nation, and yes to all filipinos in hongkong and all over the world, and here at home, who are so utterly shamed by the government’s gross ineptitude.

  10. sunnyside

    to niknok :-) you’r right, this crisis is a showcase of how dysfunctional our govt institutions especially our protectors, the military and the judiciary,including the ombudsman which the past GMA administration contributed a lot of despicable damage and gross ineptitude to the moral fiber of our bureaucracy.

    Let remember we have a new leadership administration where the learning curves includes the accident to hold-back and commit political mistakes, not intentionally but as Occupational Hazards.