Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he saw no reason to apologise for his government's handling of the 2010 Manila hostage crisis that left eight Hongkongers dead, but admitted the situation could have been handled better. Aquino, pictured, told an international television audience that gunman Rolando Mendoza was not a terrorist and that the situation had looked likely to end peacefully in the hours before its deadly conclusion. But relatives of the victims, who are still coming to terms with their loss while tackling red tape as they prepare a lawsuit against Aquino's government, said they struggled to understand the president's logic. Sacked policeman Mendoza killed seven Hong Kong tourists and their guide on a hijacked bus before being shot dead in a bungled rescue in Rizal Park. The Hong Kong government continues to warn against all travel to the country. Speaking on a CNN Talk Asia interview aired over the weekend, Aquino said: 'Of course in hindsight it could have been handled better. But given the situation ... you had a guy [Mendoza] who ... was not a terrorist, he wasn't there to inflict terror on anybody. 'In fact before we even started negotiating with him, there were two hostages that had gotten released. And up until the early evening, it seemed to be just a question of meeting minimum demands and it would have been settled peacefully.' Aquino also downplayed the impact of Hong Kong's travel warning, saying that while fewer Hongkongers visited his country, more mainland Chinese were doing so. 'Things like that should not happen to our guests,' he said. 'So we have instituted quite a number of measures, both in terms of [security] but also with regards to the judicial system.' But Tse Chi-kin, elder brother of slain tour guide Masa Tse Ting-chunn, said he was disappointed by Aquino's refusal to apologise. 'They [the Philippine government] have been neglecting all our demands. They did not protect the hostages' safety, they did not provide assistance to the coroner's court nor did they give us any compensation or apology,' he said. He said he found it hard to understand why the Philippine authorities ignored the gunman's demand to reinstate him to his job, and then bungled the rescue operation. Tse says the victims' relatives and the survivors are still struggling to find lawyers in the Philippines willing to lodge a civil claim. A Hong Kong inquest last year found that the eight victims were unlawfully killed. The bloodbath was considered a public relations disaster for a country that prides itself on its reputation as a tourist destination.