Friday, April 22, 2011

Manila mayor, vice mayor refuse HK hostage probe invitation

MANILA, Philippines—Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso refused Hong Kong’s invitation for them to appear as witnesses in the former British colony’s probe of the August 23, 2010 hostage-taking.
Dismissed policeman Rolando Mendoza took over a tourist bus at the Quirino Grandstand on August 23, leading to the death of eight Hong Kong nationals.
Earlier this month, the Hong Kong coroner’s office, through the Department of Justice, sent invitations to 116 Filipinos to appear before a probe panel in Hong Kong in February. The list includes Lim and Moreno, held administratively liable for the botched hostage rescue in the initial Incident Investigation and Review Committee report.
“I will not go to there,” Lim said of the coming Hong Kong probe, during the Department of Interior and Local Government Peace and Order Council meeting held at the Manila city hall Monday morning.
“The Philippine government has already conducted its own investigation. Mendoza was found to have been the one who killed the tourists. What else is there to investigate? I have already responded and given my side,” Lim said.
“They should respect the findings of our investigation. This is an encroachment of the sovereignty and independence of the Philippines,” he added, in Filipino.
Domagoso agreed, saying the Hong Kong government could simply refer to their affidavits and other official records of the hostage-taking incident already with the DoJ.
“The invitation was just a request. We could refuse. The letter stated ‘If you wish to attend, call us,’” Domagoso added.
Domagoso expressed confidence their refusal would not strain diplomatic ties between China and the Philippines. “It is not a matter between two states. The Hong Kong government is just a local government unit,” he said.

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