Cloak Of Shame

Even Ms.Universe Fourth Runner-Up Venus Raj’s triumph or Charice Pempengco’s role in Glee or Pacquiao’s world title will not be able to redeem the country’s honor from what former police officer Rolando Mendoza has done to tourists visiting our country and from what our incompetent government officials has failed to do on that ill-fated 23rd day of August, 2010.

The dust of the hostage aftermath has not yet completely settled down but the bits and pieces of facts are beginning to paint a clearer picture of what transpired that day. It was all premeditated by Mendoza.

The now infamous Mendoza travelled early morning that day from Tanauan, Batangas to Manila which was around 3 hours ride. Carrying with him were weapons, blank placards and pen. The drama started 9 ‘o’ clock in the morning when the hostage-taker boarded his pre-selected ride to Libingan ng mga Bayani (but opted to hold his mission in Quirino Grandstand). He chose a tourist bus to take him where he intended to go. And as the world now knows, the tragedy ended nine lives, including that of Mendoza’s and probably also ended Filipinos’ relations with Hong Kong nationals.

The underdog has no good excuse for what he has done especially now that everyone knows it was all in his plan. Mendoza has been alluded to be someone who was honourable to his work and has been a victim of injustice in our social system when he was mistakenly charged for something that he claims he has nothing to do with. As Filipinos try to analyze what has led this upstanding citizen to commit drastic measures to gain back his lost compensation, I am still not convinced that he was that good of a citizen, much more a former man of law.

Some of those directly involved in the hostage-taking states that Mendoza was asking around a million Pesos to finally compensate his lost pension. Was it all about money? Was it his aspiration all along? I’m quite certain it wasn’t to clear up his name because to take a number of lives hostage wouldn’t do him any good on that aspect.

How many times have people, not only Filipinos, taken lives in their own hands just for money? Countless of times. In this country alone, crime rates are mostly because of financial reasons to be able to provide the needs that most of our fellowmen lacks – even the basic ones. My problem with Mendoza was that he had caused all this tragedy because of pride and probably, money. It was not because he was already dying of hunger.

If he wanted to get a message across, he could have surrendered and not taken any life at all. After surrendering, media will do its job to peel everything on its way to get to the core of things – a review of his misjudged case. I think he already sensed it when he saw the crowd and media coverage he was getting. He already knew he got our full attention. He was being interviewed until almost at the end of his shift as a hostage-taker.

Why did he chosoe a group of tourist to vent out his anger over the government? The tourists can do nothing about his problems. They probably didn’t understand even when he explained himself to them. The twenty-five passengers of that bus was looking forward to a relaxing day travelling all over Manila. It was very unfortunate for them that they were chosen to sacrifice their lives for something they don’t understand. It has been an unspoken rule throughout the world that tourists are not to be harmed in the country they are visiting. In return, they are not supposed cause mischief in the country they are visiting.

When real tourists take interest to visit the Philippines, it is a big deal. For the past decades, “tourists” are mostly military men, men who condone prostitution in the country, foreigners who have business interest in the country, international social workers and so on. It is only recently when people come here to enjoy themselves with what the country has to offer without the need to damage our self-respect.

I am personally fond of visiting Hong Kong and has been there thrice or four times now. I have enjoyed all of those trips even if the bus tours they offer go to almost the same places each time. Even if Filipinos work there as housemaids or equally undignified (for some), it is rare that citizens of Hong Kong will treat tourists badly.

After the tragedy in the Hong Thai Travel bus transpired, I’m in no disposition to travel anywhere in Asia. There is both shame and fear that once they knew I was Filipino, they would probably give me a hard time. How can a Filipino go around Hong Kong or China when we have clearly done harm in a number of their citizens? We can all sense their loathing over Filipinos after what happened. Hopefully, they would come to know that we, ourselves, are embarrassed by what happened. And even if the people directly involved in the hostage-taking last August 23, 2010 are trying not to own up to their mistakes, the nation feels truly sorry for what has happened.

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4 Responses to “Cloak Of Shame”

  1. sis, take a look at this story – http://wickedsago.blogspot.com/2010/08/parallels-tiananmen-square-and-luneta.html . parallelisms abound, but the reality was nothing was done when Filipinos were murdered in cold blood in China. my bro-in-law was in China that time (he’s working for the same company as Mr. Madrigal), and he said he was about to go the same route as “Bong” Madrigal. if he did, and he was also killed during that rampage in Tiananmen Square, my sister would’ve been widowed early 😦

    • hangingbridge Says:

      thanks sis for sharing the link. read the whole thing. It’s a known fact that a lot of FIlipinos have been maltreated all over the world also… many of them had died in other countries. And no one had apologize to the Filipinos like we are doing. I think it is best that we put a good example that we treat the lives of both citizens and non citizens as important as our own. That’s how different we are from the rest of the world.

  2. I agree…”official statements” notwithstanding, Filipinos would still find ways to express sympathy and empathy to others, even in the smallest ways available to them…

  3. fair points here 🙂

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