President Benigno Aquino 3rd has directed Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to meet with the Hong Kong tourists who survived the 2010 bus massacre in Rizal Park and the victims’ relatives to explain how the investigation into the incident was coming along.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said De Lima could brief the Hong Kong tourists and their families on what the Aquino administration has done.
“The Justice Secretary was tasked to brief—along with our Consul General in Hong Kong—to give the survivors as well as the families of those who were lost a briefing on the status of the cases as pending here in our courts,” Valte said.
On August 23, 2010 sacked police senior inspector Rolando Mendoza hijacked a tourist bus carrying 20 tourists, a tour guide from Hong Kong, and four Filipinos and demanded that he get his job back.
In a failed attempt to rescue the hostages, seven people in the bus were killed and nine were injured.
Valte said she is not aware of the other purpose of the official business of the Justice secretary.
During the 30-minute closed-door meeting with Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying, Aquino said the two governments are working to finally put a closure to the incident.
But Leung denied that Hong Kong and Philippines have agreed to put the tragedy behind them.
According to Valte, “the presidential spokesperson did clarify when he was asked by a representative of one of the media agencies in Hong Kong that what he said was that this is a step forward.”
The broadsheet, she said, had reported that both leaders had agreed to put the incident behind them when there was no such statement.
Valte said the Justice department will also give an update on the cases filed against the gunman, policemen involved in the botched rescue, as well as compensation for the families of the victims.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE