Aquino apology call reaches fever pitch with Manila sanctions vote
Philippine president Benigno Aquino is right. He should not have to apologise for the hostage tragedy on behalf of his country. Hong Kong's self-righteousness and indignation has reached a feverish pitch, culminating with the passage of a non-binding Legislative Council motion for sanctions on Thursday.
The timing is far from ideal; it just exposes our callousness. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful ever recorded, slammed into the Philippines while our lawmakers deliberated in the air-con Legco chamber on sanctions.
It has set off landslides, caused blackouts in an entire province and cut communications in the country's central island provinces. At least four people have died but the death toll is expected to rise.
Albert Chan Wai-yip, a pan-democratic People Power lawmaker, launched the motion to impose sanctions against the Philippines unless Aquino cries uncle. The pro-establishment Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, our ex-security chief, helped with its passage by calling for an end to visa-free access for Philippine visitors to Hong Kong.
Jumping on the bandwagon, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said he supports sanctions. This is perhaps a negotiating tactic, but more likely a cynical ploy to halt his plummeting popularity.
Now that's a political ménage à trois you rarely see in this town. It is, indeed, some kind of political pornography. But if Leung thinks that would help salvage his dwindling public support, I say don't bother. He will get no credit if Aquino apologises, only the blame if he doesn't.
Over the decades, how many Philippine domestic helpers have been mistreated and abused - how many driven to suicide? Should Manila demand an apology and a victims' fund from Hong Kong?
Dr Rizalina Bunyi, 55, was one of the victims killed in the Tiananmen Square terrorist attack last week. Shouldn't Manila now demand a formal apology and compensation from Beijing? How many Hong Kong visitors have been injured or killed in accidents that could be attributed to official negligence on the mainland? Should Beijing apologise?
The families of the victims of the Manila killings deserve closure. But our belligerence will not achieve that for them, only make it worse.