The review made by the Palace legal people and approved by President Aquino on the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) Report on the Manila Hostage Crisis makes some people scratch their heads. What has happened to all the recommendations? Well, most of them were downgraded from spanking to simply verbal reminders.
I personally am very much disappointed with what President Aquino and his supposedly legal luminaries had decided over the IIRC report. Why?
1. The recommendation of the IIRC report were mostly downgraded to administrative cases and some criminal cases recommended to be filled against concerned people were dismissed. The reason? Atty. Lacierda said, “The thing is, it must be emphasized that the findings of IIRC were recommendatory in nature. There were parameters. Let’s prove facts, determine if cases can be filed and if they will prosper. We don’t want to file cases that will be dismissed.”
All accountabilities of people like Usec. Puno and Versoza were all blotted out. That sucks for me as it was clear from the investigation of the IIRC that the two are to be held responsible also at least in reference to command responsibility. But then again, after all the investigations, the whole thing boils down to the taste of the President and his select legal advisers.
2. Command responsibility in this respect was not given much importance by the Palace. With such review made by P-Noy and his men, they reduced the whole bloody fiasco into a mere local incident with only local officials, police men and officers recommended to face charges. Pres. Aquino indeed fulfills what he said that heads should roll, but those heads are the heads of people who are only following instructions, and those very people who should have been trained hard by the very organization and leaders they are serving.
3. The result of the review dismisses the whole role of the IIRC as it seems to show that whatever rigorous investigations and prodding the committee had done, everything will boil down to whatever the Palace and P-Noy is to decide; that is by using a with a wide range of considerations like politics, image and political alliance. What happened to Puno? What happened to the media people who clearly stepped in the fiasco? They went away unscathed because in my own way of looking at it, political considerations were made and public image was tried to be protected.
I am no legal expert but in a point-of-view of a bossing of the President, I think the whole thing was a funny exercise of trying to pacify an angry mob with rhetorics and when fuming emotions were already ok, the whole thing goes back to old politics; no one is really been made accountable while the underlying action is to put all those people who can be used as scapegoats for the incompetence of national leaders face charges. Hong Kong and families of the victims indeed have the right to feel so bad about the results of the IIRC review.
I will not wonder if we may soon face another hostage drama involving those police officers who tried to rescue the Hong Kong nationals from Capt. Mendoza but are now facing either dismissal or suspension from service and in effect, like Mendoza, may not get their retirement benefits.