The hostage-taker of foreigner-packed tourist bus in Manila Monday is a bemedalled police officer who is just months away from his mandatory retirement from the police service, records from the Philippine National Police (PNP) revealed.
A record from the PNP-Directorate for Police Records and Management (DPRM) obtained by the Manila Bulletin/TEMPO revealed that Senior Inspector Reynaldo del Rosario Mendoza obtained a total of 17 police service medals and a commendation for excellent job performance.
Among them are the Medalya ng Papuri, PNP Badge of Honor, Medalya ng Kasanayan, Medalya ng Kagalingan and Medalya ng Paglilingkod.
Mendoza is expected to bow out of police service on January 10, 2011 when he will reach the mandatory retirement age of 56.
A graduate of the Philippine College of Criminology, the 55-year old Mendoza entered the law enforcement service through the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP) in 1981.
The police service apparently runs in the family of Mendoza, having a brother who is in active service with a rank of Senior Police Officer and a son with a rank of Police Inspector and assigned as deputy chief of Bangued town police in Abra.
Police records revealed that Mendoza joined and was absorbed in the PNP with a rank of Senior Police Officer 3 in 1991.
“Based on our records, he rose from the ranks starting as a patrolman. He was absorbed when the PNP is created in 1991,” a police source said.
Mendoza was promoted to Police Inspector (equivalent to lieutenant in the military) in 2002 and then to Police Senior Inspector (captain) three years later. His assignment is mostly at the Manila Police District.
While it was not specifically cited in the police records, a police source said trouble began for Mendoza in 2008 when he and at least four other policemen were accused of extorting money from a chef whom they accosted allegedly for parking violation and possession of illegal drugs.
The chef was allegedly forced to eat shabu after failing to produce P200,000, but was later released when a friend allegedly gave P20,000 to one of the arresting officers.
As a result, Mendoza was meted with 90-day preventive suspension which was imposed from June 16 to September 14 in 2008. He was reinstated after the suspension was served.
But on February 16 last year, the PNP leadership ordered that he be dismissed from the service.
“I believe that what really depressed him is that the dismissal comes with an order that his retirement benefits be forfeited,” the police source said.
This was confirmed by Mendoza’s updated service records which stated in the February 16, 2008 order that the dismissal has accessory penalty of forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from the government service.
Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz, Jr., PNP spokesman, said the PNP leadership has been closely monitoring the hostage-taking incident and is optimistic that the situation will be resolved peacefully.
“The general guidance of the Chief PNP (Director General Jesus Verzosa) is to strictly observe the police operational procedures on hostage-crisis situations with paramount emphasis on the safety of the hostages, the police personnel on the ground, and the hostage-taker himself,” said Cruz.
The official said a Crisis Management Committee (CMC) has been activated shortly after news of the hostage-taking broke out, headed by Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno. The Committee, he said, is aimed at coordinating all actions of concerned police units and agencies.
Aaron Recuenco, Manila Bulletin