Philippines Bus Hijacking Ends, Hostages Killed

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A 12-hour bus hostage drama ended in Manila, Philippines on Monday with a bloody shootout, which resulted in the deaths of seven bus passengers and also the suspect.
The man has been identified as former police officer Rolando Mendoza.  He took a busload of Hong Kong tourists captive at gunpoint early Monday.

The 55-year-old was reportedly angry over being dismissed from his position on charges of robbery and extortion.  Armed with an M-16 rifle and small arms, Mendoza had demanded he be given his job back.

"His problem was he was unjustly removed from service," Mendoza's brother, Gregorio, told a local TV station. "There was no due process, no hearing, no complaint."

Following hours of negotiations, Mendoza released nine of his captives.
Police made the decision to storm the bus.  For hours, they were unable to break in the vehicle.  However, in what would prove to be a final assault, police commandos took control of the vehicle - but not before Mendoza opened fire and killed at least six of the hostages.

The suspect also died, police said.

"It's a tragedy and a farce," said Kevin Chan, a Hong Kong resident, told Reuters. "Why did it take them so long to get into the bus? They're not well disciplined and trained."

"It's really tragic, the Philippine police and government are totally incompetent," another Hong Kong resident Sunny Ho added.

Ho told Reuters that Monday's standoff could have been resolved through peaceful negotiations rather than the use of deadly force.

"The government should have agreed to the request of the gunman and rescued the people first!" Ho said.

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