President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday insisted that he would make no apology to the people of Hong Kong over the 2010 Manila hostage crisis amid the move of the city of Manila.
In a forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), Aquino echoed his earlier statement that an act of one man should not be taken as act of the state.
“Our position is the act of one individual who is probably mentally unstable at that point in time should not be construed as the act of the entire country,” Aquino said, citing that he has again offered regrets over the incident when he met with Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung during their meeting in Brunei more than a week ago.
“And that, again, we reiterated our utmost regret as to what has happened. We offered again our condolences to all who have suffered and died. But there are limitations, even from the legalistic point of view as to how far we can go,” he said.
“I can’t say we have a meeting of the minds but both of us understood each other’s positions,” Aquino added
The President said he considered the possible “legal backlash” of his refusal to offer apology, however, he dismissed the calls for reparation of the victims.
“Legal backlash? There has to be a consideration. If we accept that it was, in effect, an act of the state then the idea also of compensation comes in—or reparations perhaps is the better legal term—comes into the picture,” he said
“But at the end of the day, we submit the act of one individual should not be construed as the act of the entire nation and when I, as President, apologize then I’m apologizing on behalf of the sin visited by the entire country on these Hong Kong residents. And I don’t think that is appropriate at this point in time,” he added
President Aquino, on one hand, has defended Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, a political ally, who was not punished for the incident.
“At the end of the day, who was responsible? There was a ground commander who was given specific instructions, he decided to use a less capable unit, he assumed too many things,” he said
“It was his decision that hampered the better prepared team from effecting the mission at that point in time,” the President added.
Meanwhile, Aquino assured that all appropriate charges have been filed against those responsible including sanctioning the Deputy Ombudsman who was directly responsible for not addressing the complaint of the hostage taker, police senior inspector Rolando Mendoza.
“A lot of careers were ruined when they were dismissed, I understand, the concurrent would be forfeiture of all pay and benefits; things that were built up over life–lifelong career by several senior officials,” he said. CATHERINE S. VALENTE