• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 9:47am
NewsHong Kong

Philippine senators urge Aquino to apologise over Manila bus tragedy

Opposition lawmakers say there is nothing wrong in apologising as they face need to apply for visas for Hong Kong travel from Wednesday

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 February, 2014, 4:14am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 February, 2014, 4:14am

Three Philippine opposition lawmakers have urged President Benigno Aquino to apologise for the bungled Manila bus hostage rescue in which eight Hong Kong people died, in response to visa sanctions that would affect them.

From Wednesday, Hong Kong will cancel 14-day visa-free arrangements for Philippine officials and diplomatic passport holders - including their spouses and children, who are also extended such passports. The move is in retaliation for the country's failure to respond to all of the city's demands after the bus siege.

Those affected will have to obtain visas before flying to Hong Kong, a popular weekend getaway for wealthy Filipinos.

On August 23, 2010, sacked policeman Rolando Mendoza took 22 Hong Kong tourists and three Filipinos captive on their coach. He shot dead seven of the tourists and their guide before being killed in a bungled rescue.

Senator Vicente Sotto, who, according to Philippine showbiz website PEP was last seen at Chek Lap Kok airport on August 26, said: "There is nothing wrong in apologising for a situation that we were unable to control."

Sotto put Aquino's refusal to apologise down to pride on the part of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which advises the president on the issue.

And fellow United Nationalist Alliance member Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito had another idea to resolve the situation. "If Aquino is reluctant to say sorry now, may I suggest instead that we send an official emissary to Hong Kong to resolve the issue?"

Ejercito, son of Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, said that given the Manila city government had already issued a formal apology to Hong Kong, but it was still seeking an apology from the national government, Aquino's No2 should step in. "[VicePresident Jejomar] Binay is the right man for this job," Ejercito said.

Binay, who has said he will run for the presidency in 2016, could not be reached for comment.

Opposition senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jnr also spoke out on the issue. "The refusal to apologise I find hard to understand," he told the Philippine Star newspaper.

The presidential palace has yet to respond to the three senators' statements. But foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez was standing firm.

"[The apology demand is] a total renegotiation … which the Philippines, as a sovereign nation, is not prepared to consider. Our nation has already expressed its deepest regret and condolences over the incident and we are preparing to reiterate this."

On social media, Filipinos supported Aquino's stance, and many were also pleased about Hong Kong's visa sanctions.

"The senators can no longer go shopping. Thank you, Hong Kong," one post said.


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It's time to drop this issue............HK's side is being a crybaby about this issue, trying to force an apology from the Philippine side...........CY Leung should show by example and first apologize to the Indonesian government for the suffering that the Indonesian maid "Erwiana" suffered during her time in HK. The reason she suffered so much while working here is also because of the incompetency of the HK system. If CY and the HK government is not prepared to apologize to the Indonesians, then don't expect the Philippines to do do it either.
Seeing the ways he snubbed HK's chiefs by saying that Tsang was not up to the level to talk to him during the hostage incidence and by the way he treated Leung as his inferior during the latest meeting, I think he may be giggling at the idea that such a mighty president has to apologize to such a tiny mini city. If he really apologizes I think he would do it with his signature smile like that in the above photo and even interlaces the apology with mocking, which again will infuriated HKers. Just let the dude go and keep on warning people to avoid Philippine.
Silliness on both sides. Feels like watching a children's show.
Let it go. Manila screwed it up big time but so did HK and PRC by not getting specialist advisers from HKP and Chinese Embassy on the scene which could have prevented the tragedy and made it possible for the Phillipine National Police to take charge.
I think you only need to look at who is complaining about this measure and I guess it is clear that this measure is one supported by most Philippinos too.
These opposition senators will comment on anything in the hope of distracting attention from the issue of Pork. They also want to retain easy access to Hong Kong in case they have to flee the consequences of their crimes. These same ones are the greediest of all, that, despite their multi-multi millions have been systematically looting from Philippine government programs that target the poor in the Philippines. They are less than despicable and should be ignored up until the point they are plea bargaining against lengthy jail sentences.
I don't like this arrogant and self overstated Aquino, but he is not my problem, but the problem of the Philippine people. But even if he (Aquino) apologises, it would not be enough for the Pans and "People Power". Their target is not getting anything from the Philippines (if not already compensation). Their main target is the HK government and to absurd them. What does an apology of Aquino will accomplish? Nothing but a humiliated and downgraded president and a HK government acting as a playing ball of the opposition to push them to any direction they want to be.
It is only sad, that this issue is misused for political vendettas.
"The senators can no longer go shopping. Thank you, Hong Kong," one post said. That and now it's obviously become a tool for the opposition to play local politics there...
Not just the opposition but the whole country is f***ed io
This may not be resolved in quite awhile as face is at stake.



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