MANILA, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- The driver of the tour bus held hostage by a dismissed policeman recounted Tuesday the turn of events that led to the killing of the of eight Hong Kong tourist passengers.
On the fourth day of public hearings conducted by the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC), Alberto Lubang, driver of the ill-fated Hong Thai tour bus, narrated around 8 a.m. of August 23, some 21 Hong Kong tourists from boarded the bus bound for Intramuros - one of the main tourist sites in the Philippine capital.
Aside from the 21 tourists and himself, Lubang said other bus passengers include the tourist guide and two photographers.
When he came to fetch the tourists after an hour of sightseeing, Lubang said that he noticed a man in police uniform waving at him and approached the bus. The fully-armed man turned out to be Rolando Mendoza.
Lubang said he heard Mendoza asked one of the photographers where the bus was bound to. The photographer said the bus is going to the airport. Mendoza then asked if he can hitch a ride as he was also going to that area.
Lubang told the IIRC that he wasn't in favor of having Mendoza to get on the bus as this was strictly prohibited by their company. But Mendoza prevailed on him, saying that he would be the one to protect then.
When the bus was moving, Mendoza declared the hostage and ordered him to go to the nearby Quirino Grandstand.
Mendoza also told Lubang to call up his family or company that the bus is being held hostage. Lubang said he called up Lourdes Amansec, the assistant manager of the Direction Travel and Tours which owned the hijacked Hong Thai bus.
Mendoza then confiscated Lubang's cellphone, which the hostage taker then used to negotiate with policemen.