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A committee headed by the Philippines' justice secretary has begun an investigation into the bus-hijacking in Manila, where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed.
One police officer testified that they had many chances to shoot the hostage taker before the tragedy ended.
At the start of the formal inquiry at the Justice Department, the officials admitted operational lapses in negotiations to free 22 Hong Kong tourists held on a bus by a sacked police captain seeking reinstatement.
Interior Department undersecretary, Rico Puno, said the crisis committee considered the bus hijacking a problem that could be handled because the negotiations were going smoothly in the initial stages, describing the hostage-taker as "cooperative".
Rico Puno, Interior Undersecretary, said, "We relied heavily on the assessment of the ground commander and the hostage negotiators, that this is, that they can control the hostage-taker, because of his actions before."
Puno said the situation turned for the worse after police arrested the brother of the hostage taker, who saw everything on a TV set on the bus. Meanwhile, the local police department said it had decided to approve his reinstatement. However, the gunman began killing hostages.
"At what point is target elimination considered an option? We didn't see that in August 23, until the hostage-taker killed the hostages."
"When there is imminent threat your honor, to--"
"Before that, before that. I suppose that is an option, correct director-general?"
"Yes, your honor."
Versoza pointed out some lapses including not clearing the area of bystanders and not cutting off TV and radio signals to the bus.
He also admitted that the SWAT members dispatched to the scene were not their best, and were also severely lacking equipment and training.
The hearing will be completed on Monday.