IIRC recommendations: only Lim cited for criminal sanction

MANILA —  Following are the recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee that investigated the Aug. 23 hostage tragedy. This was withheld when President Aquino released the fact-finding part of the report. The recommendations are being reviewed by the presidential legal panel headed by Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa.

Recommendations

In light of the preceding discussions on the accountability of the above-mentioned public officials, PNP officers and private individuals based on their corresponding acts and omissions during the August 23, 2010 Rizal Park Hostage-taking crisis, the Committee hereby recommends the following actions:

1. Against PCSUPT (General) Rodolfo Y. Magtibay, the initiation of the corresponding administrative proceedings is recommended based on the following grounds:

a. Serious Irregularities in the Performance of Duties – for countermanding the order of his superior officer, Police Director (General) Leocadio Santiago Jr. to use the PNP SAF-CRG in the assault of the hostaged bus, and in direct opposition to the clear and categorical order of the President to do so as relayed through said superior officer;

b. Gross incompetence – for manifest lack of adequate ability and fitness to satisfactorily perform his police duties as ground commander in the hostage-taking incident as established in this investigation, resulting in the needless and tragic death of eight (8) foreign tourists and the injury of seven (7) others;

At the same time, it is recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the appropriate government agency for any possible criminal liability that may have been committed arising from the commission of the above offenses and in the course of the execution of his command during the hostage crisis.

2. Against Police Director Leocadio Santiago Jr., the initiation of the corresponding administrative proceedings is recommended for Less Grave Neglect of Duty on the following grounds:

a. For his failure to execute lawful orders from higher authority when he failed to implement the order of the President to use the PNP SAF-CRG in the assault of the hostaged bus;

b. For his failure to make immediate correction or take appropriate action when a dereliction of duty has been committed in his presence by a subordinate under his command by failing to take immediate action to correct:

i. the countermanding of the Order of the President by Gen. Magtibay to use the PNP SAF-CRG in the assault of the hostaged bus more than 30 minutes into the assault of the SWAT even when he was merely two blocks away from the scene of the incident at Emerald Hotel monitoring the actions of Gen. Magtibay through Col. Medina of the NCRPO;

ii. the failure of the local City CMC to properly respond to the crisis situation and to constitute and organize the Regional Critical Incident Management Task Group (CIMTG) to take over the local CIMTG and CMC.

At the same time, it is recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the appropriate government agency for any possible criminal liability arising from the commission of the above offenses and in the course of the execution of his command during the hostage crisis.

3. Against Police Director General Jesus A. Verzosa, the initiation of the corresponding administrative proceedings is recommended for Less Grave Neglect of Duty in his failure to execute lawful orders from higher authority when he failed to implement the order of the President to use the PNP SAF-CRG in the assault of the hostaged bus and for his failure to monitor the crisis situation at the NCMOC as provided in the CMC Manual and as such respond adequately and give effect to decisive actions as may have been needed, but instead proceeding to Cagayan De Oro in the middle of the hostage crisis.

At the same time, it is recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the appropriate government agency for any possible criminal liability arising from the commission of the above offenses and in the course of the execution of his command during the hostage crisis.

4. Against Undersecretary Rico E. Puno, the initiation of the corresponding administrative proceedings is recommended for gross negligence under the appropriate civil service laws, rules and regulations for neglecting to disseminate and ensure the implementation of the order of the President to utilize the PNP SAF-CRG in the assault of the hostaged bus and for failure to exercise with due diligence his supervisory powers over the PNP as ordered by the President.

At the same time, it is recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the appropriate government agency for any possible criminal liability arising from commission of the above offenses and in the course of the execution of his duties as DILG Undersecretary during the hostage crisis and in assuming the position of the DILG Secretary as NPOC CMC.

5. Against Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, the initiation of the corresponding administrative and criminal proceedings for assuming the authority of the on-scene commander in negotiation and tactical action or intervention in contravention of Section 1.7.2 of the CMC Manual, for negligence in his failure to properly organize and constitute the Crisis Management Committee in accordance with the CMC Manual of 2000, for issuing an illegal order during the arrest of Gregorio Mendoza, for abandoning and ordering the on-scene commander to abandon the Advanced Command Post at the height of the hostage crisis and, in general, for failure to perform his duties as CMC Chairman as discussed in the previous section constituting dereliction of duty and gross negligence, in accordance with Sec. 60 (c) of R.A. 7160.

6. Against Vice Mayor Francisco Domagoso, the initiation of the corresponding administrative proceedings for negligence in his failure to properly execute his duties and functions as Vice Chairman of the Crisis Management Committee and for dereliction of duty for abandoning the Advance Command Post at the height of the hostage crisis, in accordance with Sec. 60 (c) of R.A. 7160.

7. Against PSUPT. Orlando Yebra, the initiation of the corresponding administrative proceedings is recommended based on the ground of gross incompetence, for manifest lack of adequate ability and fitness to satisfactorily perform his police duties as Chief Negotiator in the hostage-taking incident as established in this investigation, resulting in the needless and tragic death of eight (8) foreign tourists and the injury of the seven (7) others;

At the same time, it is recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the appropriate government agency for any possible criminal liability arising from the commission of the above offenses and in the course of the execution of his office as Chief Negotiator during the hostage crisis.

8. Against PCINSP. Santiago Pascual III, the initiation of the corresponding administrative proceedings is recommended on the ground of gross incompetence, for manifest lack of adequate ability and fitness to satisfactorily perform his police duties as Over-all Assault Team Leader in the hostage-taking incident as established in this investigation, resulting in the prolonged agony of the surviving injured hostages for the rescue that should have arrived and succeeded in minutes, instead of an hour.

At the same time, it is recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted by the appropriate government agency for any possible criminal liability arising from the commission of the above offenses and in the course of the execution of his office as Over-all Assault Team Leader during the hostage crisis.

9. Against Tanodbayan (Ombudsman) Merceditas Gutierrez, the initiation of further investigation to determine whether the offenses established in the preceding section qualify as grounds for impeachment of the Ombudsman, in accordance with the discussion in the previous section.

10. Against Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III, the referral of the findings of this investigation to the Office of the President for further determination of possible administrative offenses as discussed in the previous section and for the initiation of the proper administrative proceedings.

11. Against Michael Rogas and Erwin Tulfo, the endorsement of the results of this investigation to the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) for the purpose of imposing sanctions for violating the Code of Ethics applicable to broadcast journalists and to include the Radio Station Manager of DZXL, and person(s) in charge for directing the program, for allowing the “interview” with the hostage-taker to be undertaken and aired endangering the lives of persons involved in the hostage-taking. It is further recommended, that the Department of Justice initiate an investigation to determine any other culpability.

12. Against ABC5, ABS-CBN and GMA7, the endorsement of the results of this investigation to the KBP, or appropriate media “watchdog” organization(s), for the possible violation of their code of ethics in the coverage of a crisis incident.

This is without prejudice to the findings to be arrived at in future proceedings as to the culpability of other officials and individuals.-

(Copy of recommendations courtesy of Abante)

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