• Tue
  • Sep 16, 2014
  • Updated: 8:53am
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.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

There's only one reason why most Filipinos are glad that HK cancels visa-free arrangements for Philippine government officials and diplomats. I know why. I think you have google there if you really care to know why. It's given that these public officials sing a different tune.
Filipinos who don't plan to work in HK or don't have any business to do in HK really don't care much about this to be honest. If OFWs will suffer in the end, it's the job of the government to help find alternative livelihoods. But is it going to happen? Let's wait and see. Most if not all Filipinos condoled with you four years ago (except maybe for some irresponsible souls who took pictures of the scene and posted online). It was an unfortunate event.
The head of Philippine has made a very ridiculous response . Until now, the government official doesn't want to apologize about their mistake.
Read the official statement first on the DFA website. The Philippines as a nation already expressed deepest regret and condolences. Compensation was already given. Additional tokens of solidarity from the Filipino people will also be given. It's not right that Hong Kong government and its people are trying to paint the Philippine government and its people to have ignored the families of the victims.
It is okay. No problem if they want to restrict tourist from the Philippines. South Korea is one good place better than hongkong. Singapore is another.
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.
Camel please run for the CEO for HK ... you have my vote ...
its too bad our current leaders keeps letting the tail wag the dog.
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.
"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...
phillipino dynasty vs confucius, no one wins!!!
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.




SCMP.com Account