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Police leaders, reporters 'liable' in Philippine bus standoff

By the CNN Wire Staff
The botched rescue operation on August 23 resulted in the deaths of eight tourists from Hong Kong.
The botched rescue operation on August 23 resulted in the deaths of eight tourists from Hong Kong.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The botched rescue operation resulted in the deaths of eight tourists
  • Some journalists were able to interview the hostage-taker during the standoff
  • Some news outlets broadcast the event live, while the hostage-taker watched

(CNN) -- An investigative committee looking into last month's bungled bus standoff in the Philippines has recommended criminal or administrative charges against former top police officials and three television networks, President Benigno Aquino told reporters Monday.

Among those the committee found liable is the then-Philippines National Police Chief Jesus Verzosa; then-Manila Police District Chief Rodolfo Magtibay, who served as ground commander; and hostage negotiator Manila Superintendent Orlando Yebra.

The report also recommended charges against three broadcast networks and two journalists by name, the president said -- according to CNN affiliate ABS-CBN.

Aquino said a legal team will look at the report before it is released publicly.

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The botched rescue operation on August 23 resulted in the deaths of eight tourists from Hong Kong and the hostage taker.

Another tourist was critically wounded and six others were hospitalized with less serious injuries.

The standoff dragged on for 10 hours, during which some journalists were able to interview the hostage-taker. Some local news outlets broadcast the event live.

The media later came under fire from authorities and the public, who accused them of endangering the hostages' lives and of hindering police operations. Authorities also were heavily criticized for not better containing the scene and accused of myriad other missteps.

The hostage-taker had TV access on the bus and was able to watch police operations unfold. He also watched his brother being arrested at the scene, which officials later said appeared to set him off and may have prompted him to open fire.

Hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza was a former police officer who had been dismissed a year earlier for extortion. He wanted his case reconsidered.

 
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