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The committee investigating the Manila bus hijacking continued hearing witnesses involved in the crisis on Saturday. The questioning exposed procedural lapses in the negotiations and rescue operations that ended with the death of 8 Hong Kong tourists. Police investigators from Hong Kong were allowed to listen in at the hearings.
One of the points hurled at the police was why the gunman was not taken down, despite several opportunities.
Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador, who was the assistant hostage negotiator, says he offered to seize the gunman when they approached him, but was not given clearance.
The hijacker demanded reinstatement to his position as a police officer again, but the only communication that reached him was that the ombudsman would review his case.
LIBARIOS : "Do you think the ending of the entire crisis would rest on the issuance of a temporary reinstatement, only temporary though, would that resolve the entire crisis?
SALVADOR (Filipino): "What was important for him was that he could return to the service. After that, he was happy. He knew that he would likely face charges."
Manila deputy mayor Isko Moreno, a member of the crisis committee, got the ombudsman to agree to a review of the gunman's case. He said later that he proceeded to a hotel bar, and watched the events unfold on television.
Director Leocadio Santiago, who heads the Metro Manila Region Police, drafted a last-minute communication saying the hostage-taker could be reinstated. But before it could reach the hijacker, an assault had been ordered based on information that captives were being shot.
"Is there an underlying premise that the negotiation had failed?"
"Obviously ma'm, it had failed, because the hostages were already being killed."
The hearings continued until early Saturday night, and will resume on Monday, when the panel conducts a reenactment of the entire situation.
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