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Published by: Official Gazette PH on Sep 20, 2010
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First Critical Incident was that the Crisis Management Committee was not activated in
accordance with the Manual on the activation of a Crisis Management Committee
(CMC). Mayor Alfredo Lim of the City of Manila was the person in authority charged
with the duty of activating the CMC.

While there was a semblance of a CMC organized by General Magtibay as the Ground
Commander, the sub-groups required under the Manual were not activated. As borne
by the events as they transpired, this lapse or omission resulted in the inefficiency of,
and lack of critical information to make an informed judgment by, the components of
the teams assigned to handle the crisis situation most especially the Chief Hostage

There was no intelligence gathering sub-group that would have systematically gathered
relevant information to aid the Hostage Negotiating Team and ultimately the assault
team. The testimonies given by Amensec and the released hostages were clear that no
one took the effort of debriefing or interviewing them to gather relevant information.
Right from the very start, the nationality of the hostages was reported as Koreans when
the correct information could have been easily obtained from Amensec who reported
the incident to the police authorities. Technical information related to the bus such as
the emergency exit door, the release button of the main door from the outside, and the
make and material of the window panels, were readily available from Amansec and
which could have aided decisions related to the assault on the bus. The hostages were
also not debriefed as they were released. The basic and important information of
seating arrangements or position of the hostages on board the bus was not even
obtained. Family members and friends who showed up were not interviewed by the
authorities. All these rich intelligence data were not gathered because CMC sub-group
for this purpose was not activated.

The sub-group for psychologist(s) to aid the CMC or the Hostage Negotiator in
evaluating the Hostage Taker’s behavior and/or actuations did not exist. There were
various instances where inputs from a psychologist would have been helpful and in fact
critical. Examples of these are: (1) the implications of the Hostage Taker releasing
hostages even before his demands (including for food and media) were not yet met; (2)
the attempt to fire his gun but where his gun misfired; (3) the potential implications or
repercussions of presenting the letter from the Ombudsman in the tenor it was written
and its deviation from the demand of the Hostage Taker; (4) the firing of his gun after
the letter or the Ombudsman was presented to him and where Gregorio Mendoza told
the Hostage Taker that his (Gregorio’s) gun was not returned; (4) the implications or
repercussions of even involving Gregorio Mendoza;(5) the potential repercussions of
arresting Gregorio, to name just a few. (As an aside, allowing the Hostage Taker to
directly communicate with civilian authorities is a breach of protocol on hostage

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There was notably the absence of a point person to handle media relations, another
sub-group of the CMC. This omission later proved to be a major contributory factor to
the tragic result of the crisis incident.
The authorities resolving the crisis situation, which included the Hostage Negotiating
Team, were clearly not properly guided with relevant inputs or assessment from a
psychologist required by the circumstances or nature of the crisis situation.

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