Tue, Sep 21, 2010 - Page 4 News List

Panel recommends charges over hostage rescue fiasco


Philippine President Benigno Aquino said yesterday a fact-finding panel has recommended charges against top officials for the hostage fiasco that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

He named former national police chief Jesus Verzosa and the then-heads of the Metro Manila police who were in charge on Aug. 23 when the hostage incident took place, Philippine Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice Mayor Franciso Moreno, government Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and her deputy, two prominent journalists and three major broadcasting networks as among those listed in the report.

Aquino said a legal team, including his chief aide, would now look into possible charges, criminal or civil, that could be filed against them.

“There are administrative and criminal sanctions being recommended,” Aquino said in a press conference aired live on television and radio.

He would not elaborate on what charges could be filed, saying this would be determined by the legal review team.

“I do not want to make decisions on such important matters without making a thorough review,” said Aquino, who was to leave later in the day for a seven-day visit to the US.

Aquino said a copy of the report had already been sent to the Chinese embassy. He also said he hoped the release of the report would satisfy the Chinese and Hong Kong governments and improve relations with them.

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