MANILA, Philippines - The special panel investigating last month’s Manila bus hostage incident yesterday gave assurance its official report would be on the table of President Aquino by tomorrow.
Panel chair Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said their report was already 85 percent complete as of yesterday.
De Lima described the report as “exhaustive and fact-intensive.”
“We have already completed the facts. The accounts and narrations are very detailed,” De Lima revealed.
She said the panel has already made a draft report, which still contains some portions that have to be filled.
“We still have deliberations on some aspects of the draft. We are completing and polishing portions of evaluations and conclusions, specifically the culpability and the recommendations,” she said.
De Lima said the report would include evaluation of the facts, conclusions, determination of the accountability of the personalities and institutions involved in the hostage crisis, and recommendations for possible filing of civil, administrative and criminal charges.
She refused to reveal any detailed content of the report, but hinted on the possibility of criminal prosecution.
“Certain portions are being polished, especially the evaluation of portions on crisis management committee, police actions and media actions. There is also a portion on accountability of certain officers and personalities,” she said.
De Lima said the completion of the report was delayed because of incomplete details on forensic and technical aspects of the investigation.
“There are some bullet holes whose origin we still can’t determine,” she lamented.
The report was supposed to be submitted to President Aquino yesterday, but De Lima said investigators needed two more days to complete some sections.
“We have advised the President that we will submit the report on Friday, the 17th,” she said.
The report, she said, would include testimony of the survivors as well as official accounts of the police commanders on the ground during the Aug. 23 hostage taking by disgruntled former police senior inspector Rolando Mendoza.
Police have admitted missing repeated chances to take out the hostage taker during the day-long crisis, which culminated in a bungled rescue bid that was broadcast live on television around the world.
De Lima stressed their report would be based on “partial findings of ballistic examinations.”
“The actual analysis of ballistics report would be completed in two weeks, but it will not keep us from submitting this report. There will just be a portion stating this limitation. Still, that incomplete ballistics results will not prevent us from submitting this report that we are now finalizing,” she said.
De Lima earlier said the angle that some of the hostages were killed by friendly fire during the assault was weakened by testimonies of three survivors and the autopsy reports gathered by a special mission team sent to Hong Kong.
She said the accounts of the survivors tend to corroborate the testimony of bus driver Alberto Lubang that casualties were shot by Mendoza at close range using his M-16 rifle.
Eddu Punay, Philippine Star