The aftermath of the bloody hostage-taking incident in Manila has transformed it into a crazy game of Russian roulette with people blaming on everyone for the unfortunate outcome of a tense standoff at the Quirino Grandstand where a former police official held a bus with Chinese tourist on board hostage. We all know what happened - 8 hostages were killed and the hostage taker himself.

But there is another angle to this infamous event, this is where the police fumbled their plan to rescue the hostages while the media spoon-fed the hostage-taker everything mundane happenings at the grandstand area to the crucial decisions made by the authorities. Even our "usisero" culture played a big part in the bloody outcome. Perhaps, the man was already restless with all the people circling around the bus and the arrest of his brother, who was branded as an accomplice. Some public officials were notably absent during the entire ordeal while the President's line was busy even if the Hong Kong executive called. And now the Internet forums and news sites at home and abroad are inundated with criticisms, anti-Filipino rhetoric, and blatant homophobic and racist epithets.

Some Chinese blame the "failure" on the Philippines and its people. In fact, there were already some instances of anti-Filipino actions made by some Hong Kong residents on Filipino OFWs and tourists. Adding insult to injury has intensified as a high profile drug case involving a congressman, who happens to be a son of a notable Ilocano governor and former gambling mate of a deposed ex-President, and nursing students from a renowned Manila university were caught taking pictures at the bullet-riddled bus while flashing their smiles as if the massacre never took place. Some policemen also joined the fun and took snapshots with the ill-fated bus as background and all of these pictures made its way to social networking sites thereby rubbing the wounds of hate even further. Thanks guys for making us look like an ass in front of the grieving Hong Kong public.

I agree on some online netizens here, we shouldn't blame people rather demand responsibility for their misdeeds and inactions. After all when some people's lives were lost, someone has to accept the responsibility and explain why it all went horribly wrong. Lets discuss why they wen't wrong and what they should do so that this nightmare won't happen again.

The Media
They are the most powerful people in the country and I mean it with emphasis. In fact, they are even more powerful than the President. After all they inform and entertain us, would you agree. We watch our favorite telenovelas, showbiz news, noontime variety shows and basketball on television. Does it mean that the media can control us? Well technically yes, they influence us on everything from buying soap, eating at Jollibee, get drunk with San Miguel, and cry our hearts out at our favorite primetime drama shows. Does it mean that they can show what they want? It think NO.

If we watch TV from morning to midnight, 60% of the shows are telenovelas, 20% are morning, noontime, early evening and late evening news, 10% are game shows, and the rest are all regular programs and advertisements. Thats our television staple food and the fact that the news reports in the morning are almost the same in the evening including the hourly news updates. Take for example the two popular news program on television, they have this format in their shows: headliners, national news, corruption, showbiz updates, some world news, some interesting news bits, showbiz news... I'm just wondering since when entertainment gossips, which are based on intrigues and failed relations of local TV stars, were considered as news. I thought news should be factual and are hosted by TV news anchors with reputable journalistic background? Much like what we saw on CNN and other foreign news network. I don't want to watch local TV news anchors masquerading as journalists but in reality, more like tabloid and gossip mongerers. They ask stupid questions and push people to provide speculations and guesswork like "Mayor L ikaw po ba ang nag utos na dakpin si XXX?" or "May sniper na...nasa may bus na ang mga SWAT...ano kaya ang kanilang gagawin?"

In the guise of freedom of the press, they do their job unabated. Well I do praise their courage under fire just to tell the story but sometimes the "truth can definitely hurt." A news blackout should have been necessary so that the hostage-taker won't get a heads up on the entire happening.

The Police
Another contentious issue was the role of the police in the carnage. Though the hostage-taker was a former policeman himself. The police seemed to under estimate the guy, considering that he was a former official and an award-winning one to boot. Of course we are afraid to get killed but its their job to take a hit and in that case, they were just simple unprepared or rather the element of surprise was lost because of the real-time media update. Whatever the case, they never did their job to cordon the area from unnecessary access by onlookers and the media.

They should have taken the guy out early in the afternoon when he opened the bus door to talk with the negotiators. I think most of the top brass were planning on who should get the credit and eventual promotion if the incident was defused successfully. But now, they are pointing fingers to the mayor.

Lacked of proper equipment like kevlar vests and night vision goggles all contributed to the mess. Ill-timed tactics and positioning exposed, you do the math and definitely a recipe for failure. There's no need to gather evidence when the crime scene is already compromised.

The Rain
Can we blame the rain? Well the rain played a big part as it restricted the police movement and even caused more confusion. Good thing no one has sued God for it.

The Officials
Command responsibility can be a factor because people who gave orders and directives may have caused the entire domino effect. Let just ask these questions that may have a profound impact to the negotiations. Who planned the rescue effort? Who ordered the arrest of the hostage-taker's brother? Why is the President relatively mum about the incident?

These are hard questions that need answers. And like vultures that swoop down on the carcasses, many lawmakers have made "pogi" points by recommending new laws to "protect" us like one actor-sentor who grilled a police chief on television while an "honorable" congressman recommended total news blackout on incidents like it. There is no need for new laws, implementation is what we need.

The Usiseros
We have destroyed the integrity of the evidence as many people converged upon the site to take pictures like spoils of war.

What would be your answer on who's responsible? I'm not looking for the convenient scapegoat rather knowing the people that should apologise and be punished for their misdeeds and inactions. You are the judge...

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{picture#} JP Canonigo is a historian, professional blogger and copywriter, online content specialist, copywriter, video game junkie, sports fanatic and jack-of-all trades. {facebook#} {twitter#} {google#}
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