“Forgive us. Forgive us. Forgive us.”
The family of hostage taker former police senior inspector Rolando Mendoza, the Philippine government, and the Philippine Catholic Church have separately asked forgiveness to Hongkong, to their families and to the world for Mendoza’s killing of eight Hongkong nationals in a parked tourist bus in Manila last Monday.
Hostage taker’s father Ramon Mendoza, 80 years old, in between sobs in front of a television camera apologized: “Please forgive us.”
He was crying uncontrollably as his eldest son’s casket was being entered into the family residence in Tanauan, Batangas in southern Luzon last night.
Rolando’s sister Cathy Mendoza Salgado, representing the Mendoza family, also said on camera: “On behalf of our family, we are asking for forgiveness. We are also feeling what the relatives of the Chinese nationals in Hong Kong feel about the loss of their loved ones.”
Both father and sister said Rolando was a good son and sibling always putting the family welfare first. “He waved at me smiling while he was sweeping the yard,” the father said of the last time he saw his son alive.
The hostage-taker’s sister showed Rolando’s 17 medals and plaques attesting to his being a decorated policeman in his 30 years of service. One was from Jaycees International that awarded him one of the Top 10 Policemen in 1986.
In a another development, a Catholic priest admitted that the Church has failed to “inculcate the basic human and Christian values” as it is sharing the blame in the hostage drama that culminated in the tragic deaths of the hostages and the hostage-taker himself, the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) reported online.
“The Church has failed, although it is trying its best, to cope with the situation of poverty and helplessness that led to desperation,” Claretian Father Samuel Canilang, director of the Institute for Consecrated Life in Asia was quoted as saying by ucanews.com.
The Philippine police dismissed Mendoza for extortion, robbery and grave threats when a Mandarin hotel chef lodged a complaint against him in 2008. The chef accused Mendoza of allegedly forcing him to swallow shabu after arresting him for illegal parking. Mendoza also was accused of extorting Php 20,000 in exchange for the chef’s freedom.
Mendoza demanded during the hostage drama that his name be cleared of the charges and that he be reinstated in the police service.
In another development, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III declared August 25 as a Day of National Mourning ordering all government agencies, department offices and municipal governments, to lower their flags at half-mast. Malacanang, Senate and Congress led the lowering of the Philippine flags at half-mast to pay their last respects and condole with the Hongkong government and the families who lost their loved ones during the hostage ordeal.
The President also sent flowers and fruits with the Presidential seal to the seven wounded and injured Hongkong nationals currently operated on and recuperating in Manila Hospital. (Gloria Esguerra Melencio)