Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hostage-taking at Rizal Park: Classic Example of a Bungled Crisis Management

Hostake-taker Chief Insp. Rolando Mendoza
Three things. First, it was unfortunate that Malacanang was not able to participate in the hostage taking. The hostage taker, Chief Inspector Rolando Mendoza was asking for someone to hear his case. Malacanang could have used the occasion and send someone representing the palace to hear Mendoza's side. Is it'nt the policy of the new administration to be the listening board of the People? Is'nt obvious that the hostage taking has taken a national character, not just a local incident? Foreign tourists were involved and this could have prompted the Palace to send a very professional negotiating team to address the situation. But, what did Malacanang announced? Secretary Ricky Carandang said, Malacanang is not taking part in the negotiations.

IT was a very wrong decision.

Second, DILG secretary Robredo was there on the scene. He could have taken over the lead since the negotiations has taken a very dangerous turn. Robredo could have lent himself and negotiated with the hostage taker. He heads the police. His presence could have given some assurance to the hostage taker that government has heard him and has already taken cognizance of his case.

Robredo's adamance turned the hostage taking from promising to dangerously alarming.

Lastly, why did the police violently arrested the hostage taker's brother during the most crucial period of negotiations? Okey, granting for the sake of argument that the brother had a hand in the entire thing and they suspect him of being an accomplice, nonetheless, the police could have stayed their hand, used the suspect to gain further goodwill with the hostage taker and probably, arrest him AFTER the hostake taking incident.

Yes, the negotiations fell after the hostake taker heard his brother being arrested.The police is blaming the media for this. But, why blame the media when journalists were just covering the entire incident?

It seemed that the police orchestrated the arrest to further enrage the hostage taker. Why? Because they want to assault the bus and show the world how competent cops are in hostage situations?

Seven tourists got killed and we will never know if they were shot by the cops or by the hostage taker himself. Why? Because shortly after the incident, there was no attempt at cordoning the area and conducting a thorough post-mortem investigation.

Clearly, the entire thing was a classic case of a crisis management which went entirely wrong. I am contributing my book, " The Black Book on Crisis Management: How to Diffuse a PR Crisis in Just 3 Days" to the Philippine National Police. Send me an email for a copy of the book.