Philippines President Refuses to Apologize for Bus Tragedy

Posted August 23rd, 2011 at 6:55 am (UTC-5)
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Philippine President Benigno Aquino says no apology will be offered over last year's hostage standoff and botched police rescue that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday on the anniversary of the tragedy, Mr. Aquino said the nation “really wished it did not happen.” But he said the government was not responsible, and compared the shooting to last month's killing of 77 people in Norway by what he called “a deranged gunman.”

The victims' relatives, who have been demanding an apology from Manila, visited the site of the shootings Tuesday for a ceremony that included Buddhist monks chanting prayers and lighting incense.

In addition to a formal apology, the group is seeking financial compensation and the filing of criminal charges against the officers involved in the incident.

Roberto Mendoza, a dismissed ex-policeman seeking his job back, seized the bus on August 23, 2010, and held its passengers hostage for 12 hours while a horrified nation watched on live television. Police finally staged a chaotic raid and killed Mendoza, but when they boarded the bus they found most of the passengers dead or wounded.