People's Daily slams 'cold-blooded' Philippine government

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 October, 2013, 4:37am

The overseas edition of Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily yesterday joined the Hong Kong media's attacks on the "cold-blooded" Philippine government's refusal to apologise for the 2010 Manila hostage crisis.

The "reporter's observation" was published as Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told the media that official discussions with the Philippines would start soon and the victims' families would be briefed on the progress later.

Describing the Philippines as "cold-blooded" in its headline, the article said President Benigno Aquino's repeated refusal to bear responsibility and his insistence that a lone gunman was to blame was in conflict with his stance during the crisis.

At the time, he said that the Philippine police force - blamed for bungling the rescue attempt - reported directly to him and that he should be held fully responsible, the article noted.

Aquino's refusal to answer local journalists' questions during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation last week also came under fire. Citing an editorial in Philippine newspaper PhilNews, People's Daily said Aquino was not used to being asked sharp questions by "normal" journalists as Philippine reporters were perhaps too mild.

Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said: "The Palace has no comment to make on the story."

Commenting on lawmakers' calls for a trade embargo against the Philippines and a halt to the processing of work visas for Filipino maids, Leung said the government needed to approach the issue with "strategies" while consulting the victims' families.

Civic Party legislator Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok in an open letter to Leung yesterday demanded that he propose more concrete measures to pressure the Philippines into meeting the demands of the victims' families for an apology and compensation.

Chan said Leung should put these forward at his Legislative Council question-and-answer session tomorrow.

Lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee yesterday urged the government to end visa-free arrangements for Philippine passport holders. She also asked Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing to issue an official letter to the Philippine parliament urging it to exert greater pressure on the administration.