MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) prevented forensic experts from Hong Kong on Saturday from examining the tourist bus where the August 23 hostage drama happened.
Accompanied by Hong Kong police officers, 5 Chinese forensic experts arrived at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, to conduct their own investigation into the tragedy.
The hostage-taker, dismissed Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, and 8 Hong Kong tourists died inside the bus during the 12-hour hostage drama.
Policemen assigned to secure the bus at Camp Bagong Diwa only allowed the Hong Kong experts to look at the bus, but were not allowed to enter it to gather evidence.
Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel, team leader of the field investigation team, said the PNP's crime scene investigators have not yet finished their own forensic investigation.
Coronel added that the Hong Kong forensic experts also need to secure an approval from the PNP and the Department of Justice first before they are allowed to enter the bus.
“Nakalagay sa request visit, wala pa talagang (permiso na) kumuha ng ebidensiya,” Coronel said.
Meanwhile, the police official assured that there will be no whitewash or cover-up in the PNP’s investigation.
He said a closed-circuit television camera has been installed inside the bus to document the local police's forensic investigation.
“Sa isang inter-agency conference pag-uusapan kung papayagan ba sila,” he said. “We are assuring them, credible itong investigation natin.”
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said he welcomes a third-party investigator to verify the PNP’s findings and ensure transparency of the ongoing probe.
“It's hard, baka sabihin na hindi credible,” he said. “Dapat talaga transparent tayo dito.” - With a report from Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News