WHEREAS, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has persisted on his demand for President of the Republic of the Philippines, His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., to issue a formal apology on the hostage-taking and deaths of 8 Hong Kong tourists and injuries to more in Manila in 2010, an apology President Aquino has declared is not forthcoming;
WHEREAS, following the Chief Executive’s call and the response of President Aquino, the Hong Kong government has continued to impose sanctions on the Philippine government, the latest of which was the visa requirements for holders of Philippine diplomatic and official passports;
WHEREAS, from a careful consideration of the facts surrounding the incident, it could be readily concluded that the acts were perpetrated by a long dismissed police officer who at the time no longer belonged to the police force and whose conduct therefore could not be attributable to the Philippine government;
WHEREAS, in the exercise of their responsibility to protect the Hong Kong tourists and to avoid further loss of lives and harm to others, the Philippine police authorities swiftly punished the offender by totally taking him down;
WHEREAS, the facts likewise showed that the Philippine government exerted maximum effort and regard to secure the safety of the Hong Kong tourists in a highly delicate situation, consistent with its obligations to aliens under international law, and that while the attempts fell short of the desired and expected results, post-event scenarios of any other possible outcome could only be pure and simple speculation;
WHEREAS, the President has already publicly expressed regret over the unfortunate incident and the government made public its willingness to extend further assistance to the families of the victims while the people exercised heartfelt grief and regret by lowering the flags at half-mast;
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Philippine Ambassadors’ Foundation, Inc. has resolved to:
a. Express full support of President Aquino’s resolute position not to issue a formal apology in the manner demanded by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, whose standing in the community of nations to issue such a demand in any case is at best tenuous;
b. Appeal to the officials of Hong Kong Administrative Region to desist from their immoderate call for President Aquino to issue a formal apology, since aside from the above-mentioned steps already taken, the facts plainly confirm that they could not hold the Philippine government legally responsible for the unfortunate incident; and
c. Express solidarity with the people in their continued support for the principled position of President Benigno Aquino, Jr. on the issue.
Done this 14th day of February 2014.
Lauro L. Baja, Jr.
Attested to by:
Jaime S. Bautista