(Decided to post this blog entry written by fellow drinker and deadline beater, Alex Magno, the writer, not that other guy, after I read the piece in a note on Facebook. Thanks, Alex. I owe you a beer, I guess. Or at least a link on the left. That’ll come soon enough, don’t worry.)
Let’s all spare ourselves the fancy analysis.
Rolando Mendoza, a former police officer, decided to arm himself and take a busload of tourists as hostages.
Why? He claimed to have been a victim of injustice and he wanted that corrected.
By doing an injustice to total strangers so that the authorities would hear him out.
We all saw that on television, heard it on the radio, traded posts about it on the Internet, and today, just a few hours later, will read all about it again in the papers.
What he did was clearly a matter for the police to handle. But as many of us witnessed, the police failed to handle the matter successfully.
An agitated Mendoza shot some of the hostages, nine of whom were reported dead as of this writing, after which he was shot dead himself by one of his former colleagues.
They have their reasons for their failure, no doubt.
But I’d hate to be the cop who’d have to explain what happened to the relatives and friends of the dead hostages.
Who to blame?
Well, if Mendoza had not taken those tourists hostage, we’d probably be grumbling about some other headline, like the floods caused by constant rain.
Whatever his reasons, sympathetic we may be or not, he was apparently “pushed over the edge,” as President Aquino put it.
It was he who started the whole thing.
Let’s not forget that in the sound and fury of the buck-passing that has already started.
But that’s why we have cops — so they can prevent people like Mendoza from hurting other people, and if possible, even themselves.
That could have been the ideal end of this multimedia drama, if only the cops had done their job well.
So blame them, and by the principle of the chain of command, let their superiors share some of the responsibility.
Unfortunately, things always look easy in the commentary after the fact.
I guess that’s why it’s called a post mortem.
My sympathies go to the cops who, despite their limitations in training and equipment, might have really tried to make the best out of a really bad situation.
And my condolences to the survivors of both the hostages and the hostage-taker.
We all wish this never really happened.
Timelime of what is now considered as the mayhem in Manila can be accessed here.