Beijing to Manila

It is interesting to note how there can only be a few, if any at all, “degrees of separation” in Manila…  Over an intimate dinner this evening at a dear friend’s [ actually my cousins’ cousin ] palatial home on Banaba road, I sat with the hostess and her siblings, as well as some of her husband’s close friends in the extremely affluent and tightly-knit Chinese-Filipino business community.  And the talk inevitably turned to the startling events of the week…

“I just came in from Hong Kong yesterday and before that from Shanghai and Beijing.”  related an influential Chinese-Filipina businesswoman in the electronics import and export business.  “I was in Beijing that day of the crisis.  I didn’t know what was happening.  We were at a business meeting and my Beijing partners asked me:  “Don’t you know what’s happening in Manila?”  So we watched the goings-on.  It was distracting and embarrassing, to say the least.”

“Our Beijing partners could not understand why we could not simply eliminate the sole gunman easily and effectively, the way they always do there.  They were in total disbelief and broke out in !~@#%^&*()_+! curses as they watched the climax of the crisis…”

“Later on, all of us were stunned to learn that eight of the hostages had been killed during the clumsy assault.  Ay naku, we from Manila wanted to shrink and disappear from shame!”

“The next day, many people in Beijing were angry.  There was a female newscaster on the radio who was ranting endlessly and inciting more angry reactions from her listeners.  A male co-newscaster tried to moderate her tirades, saying that tragic things like that happen and happen everywhere else in the world, not just in the Philippines.”

“A curious, but probably correct, thing was that there was a negative reaction in Beijing to the news that Hong Kong’s Donald Tsang had called President Aquino of the Philippines about the hostage crisis.  Beijing considered it as a breach of state protocol regarding international relations:  Beijing strongly felt that Tsang did not have the prerogative to do that because Beijing reserved that privilege for itself.”

“Was that the reason then why President Aquino did not receive Hong Kong’s Donald Tsang’s calls as reported by the press?”  she asked.

“Probably???”  the other guests responded.

“We arrived in Shanghai, in Pudong, and the collective mood was just as angry.  It was the talk everywhere!”

“It was worse in Hong Kong…  We really felt it there.  But my friends and business associates there were divided.  Both sides were indignant:  one side was all criticisms and violence about the Philippines and the Filipinos, how the whole crisis was handled with unbelievable ineptness and even downright stupidity;  the other camp was moderate and maintained that tragic things like that happened everywhere, not just in the Philippines, but more in the First World and the Islamic countries, the point being that nobody in their right minds wanted those things to happen in the first place!”

“But despite the hostile emotions there, civility still prevailed.  Our group freely spoke in Pilipino/Tagalog — with smatterings of Lan-nang [ Hokkien ] and Mandarin — but we didn’t experience anything untoward.”  concluded influential Chinese-Filipina businesswoman.

Our hostess related that at dinner a few days ago, her husband’s good friend, a former DILG Department of the Interior and Local Government secretary, stated that the Philippines does have an excellent SWAT team, an elite corps extensively trained by the Israelis, with the best, new firearms and other equipment to boot!  What he could not understand — nay baffled him — was why the government chose to assign the local police SWAT instead to conduct the operation, when the excellent SWAT team could have been called into service anytime.  He conjectured that it was the elite SWAT team’s association with PGMA [ President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ] that got into the way.  Politics, politics!!!

“Why didn’t you call them to suggest the elite SWAT team?!”  she asked him.

“Because they don’t like ‘unsolicited advice.’  Besides, they all know about that elite SWAT team!”  he said.

By coincidence, seated at the table was a cousin of the affluent Filipino family whose members were hacked [ with the father and the daughter killed ] with a big knife [ described by the survivor as similar to a “bolo”;  described by other accounts as a scythe ] by an “anti-Japanese Chinese protester” right in Tiananmen square in Beijing in 2005…

“The father had just retired from his work in Manila, he was only around 50… He just wanted to take his family to China for some R & R… They were just sightseeing, for chrissakes…  They were already walking around Tiananmen square just waiting for the gates of the Forbidden City to open…  they were not alighting from the tourist bus as commonly reported.  Suddenly, a man walking near them simply shoves a big knife through them in rapid succession.  The father was stabbed on the right side of the abdomen, the mother was stabbed from behind, below the chest.  The father was fatally hit in the femoral artery, a crucial part of the circulatory system;  he was already in shock, and perhaps because of the cold, wondered aloud why he was bleeding…”

“The police arrived immediately.  However, they refused to bring the stabbing victims to the hospital in their cars and vans;  probably as a matter of government policy.  They were adamant in waiting for the ambulances from the hospitals!  In such cases of severe injury, every second counts as life drains from the victims!  It was only after many, otherwise lifesaving, minutes of importuning, pleading, and begging by the other family members, tour group members, and bystanders that the police finally acceded to bring the victims to the hospital.  But by that time, it was already too late for the father and the daughter…”

“The father went into shock because of severe blood loss and the needless delay of medical attention;  he was DOA dead on arrival at the hospital.  However terribly injured, the bleeding and agonizing mother managed to attend to her daughter and held the latter’s head as she passed away not long afterwards.  The mother/widow sustained terrible injuries but survived;  she stayed in the Beijing hospital for a month and then returned to the Philippines.”

“What was remarkable was how quickly the Tiananmen square maintenance arrived and cleaned up the splattered blood that was the evidence of the crime.  Within minutes, the site of the murders bore absolutely no traces of the horrible acts that transpired just minutes before!”

“The Chinese murderer was quickly arrested, subsequently arraigned, and swiftly sentenced to death by firing squad.  However, he had to wait for some 6 months for his execution by shooting because his family had to pay for the cost of the bullets to be used on him — they had to save up the money first — as required by the Chinese state.”

“Perhaps, it is that exact kind of justice which China, and Hong Kong in particular, wants extracted from the sole Filipino gunman, who now lies conveniently dead in Batangas.”

How we wish the perpetrator had thought of the dire consequences of his acts…  how it would endanger, directly and indirectly, the livelihoods of 103 million of our already suffering countrymen, and specifically jeopardize the difficult labor and unceasing sacrifices of 103,000 of our compatriots working as domestic helpers in Hong Kong and a few thousands more working as professionals in mainland China.

But he only thought of himself.

The Hong Kong Chinese are furious.  The mainland Chinese are furious.  Well, so are we Filipinos, whether natives, Chinese-Filipinos, or mixed race.

God help us!



  1. Murvyn R. Callo said,

    November 29, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Toto — Toto, this was very sad. The family who perished in Tiananmen Square were my cousins. B was a very nice guy and V is really sweet. So sad what happened to them. I don’t think the family’s quite recovered yet.

  2. tomas pablo san andres said,

    September 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    baka start of senility na si Mayor Lim base sa mga reasoning binigay nya, hindi na sensible si “Dirty Harry”..

    kumain muna while the hostage drama was at it’s peak, gutom kasi, puede naman sya nagpabili nalang ng makakain sa scene of the crime muna, alam nya marami pang buhay na hosatges, tourists pa, hindi man lang nya inasikaso muna sila.

    hindi daw nya inorder arrested, pinaposasan lamang.
    nakakalokong statement yun, sanay sya bilang isang lawyer.

    hindi daw nya inorder dalhin sa Tondo kundi sa precinto sa Tondo.
    ( sa mga tarantado, kapag sinabi dalhin sa Tondo, parang sinabi na i-salvage na yan, kaya siguro nagpanik yung kapatid na pulis din).

    hindi daw nya kinumbida si Magtibay kumain sa Emerald, sinabi lang daw nya sa Emerald siya pupunta.
    ( sabi nga ng isang columnist, coming from the boss that was tantamount to saying follow us)

    kawawang Aquino, Lim was a loyal friend of his mother pero he failed the son this time.
    dapat naalala nya the president’s reputation was at stake if the nego failed.

  3. Rina Dy said,

    September 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Mayor Lim was a big disappointment too, considering he was a former policeman. It seems he wanted to get all the credit that’s why he didn’t let the other forces in kaya lang pumalpak.

  4. Georgiana Ocampo said,

    September 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Dear Mr. Toto Gonzalez,

    I received a forwarded e-mail from a friend of mine with the attached note from you stating your deep condolences to the family of the late Carmen (Mameng) Singian-Lazatin. The deceased is our neighbor in San Fernando, Pampanga and a distant relative who used to visit me here in the USA. Please accept my kindest Thank You for writing about her sad passing.

    Also, I went about checking your blog and found it interesting and quite extensive in researching about families in Pampanga. Keep the torch burning! You are providing a great service to us Pampanguenos and their families.

  5. tomas pablo san andres said,

    September 6, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    to repeat, president aquino said at the end of the day, the blame is on him with his repressed squirk as reminded by his kin MM, his and mom’s image maker.

    walang ano mang paghuhugas kamay ng lahat sa kanila will erase the image of the president as a weak person, to put it extremely mildly.

    obvious the media is treating him with benevolence, even the feisty de quiros is soo gentle when it comes to him, as compared to how he massacres variuos personalities when they make the slightest mistake.

    how about tourism sec. albert lim, he too was an embarrassment, sabi nya isolated case lamang yun, with his smirk likewise.
    that said during his interview within 24 hrs after the tragedy.
    hindi ba kailangan din mag apologize for his insensitivity, mahina din siguro ang ulo, poor us….

    si robredo talagang ayaw umamin at walang pressure from the president man lang. DILG top gun sya pero, not that moment daw, si Rico Puno daw ( WHO THE HELL IS HE?).
    insensitive din, sa Tagalog MAKAPAL ANG MUKHA.


  6. Myles Garcia said,

    September 6, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Obviously, what this crisis showed: Filipinos’ lack of a teamwork spirit, discipline and decisiveness. It’s always “every man for himself.”

    I mean, my God, just watch any of a dozen U.S. TV SWAT shows…and anybody with a pea of a brain can at least come up with even a half-competent solution — NOT the bungling, Keystone Cops scenario that came out…from the chief Keystone Cop-Marx brother on the top.

    I imagine he will wear a flimsy barong in the chilly weather of Manhattan come the end of the month. And then catch a cold…and then give it to the other 60 heads of state or so. God help us all.

  7. Dindo Blanco said,

    September 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    From the kilometric interviews and questioning being conducted by the IIRC (is it just me, or does it seem that we have another Maid Mirriam in the making in Sec. de Lima?) it is becoming clear that no one really knew what they were doing, with the key players hoping to score pogi points but ending up with egg in their faces. And how about our Philippine press, so quick to find fault in everyone else but themselves, never admitting to any blame.

  8. September 6, 2010 at 3:15 pm


    I frankly admire President FVR Fidel Valdez Ramos.

    Had he been President during the hostage crisis, HE would have dealt with it decisively, swiftly, and effectively like the outstanding military man that he is.

    Toto Gonzalez

  9. Maritess Alava said,

    September 6, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I want to share this article that Raffy Alunan posted in Facebook:

    My thoughts on the Quirino tragedy
    by Rafael Alunan III on Monday, September 6, 2010 at 2:49pm

    In answer to queries on what might have happened in FVR’s time had the Quirino tragedy taken place during his watch, here’s a probable picture recalling that, before his presidency, he was a former head of the national police (Phil. Constabulary), AFP Chief of Staff and Sec. of National Defense.

    The Secretary of Interior and Local Government (SILG) and concurrently the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Chair and National Committee on Anti-Hijacking and Terrorism (NACAHT) Chair, an intelligence exchange and crisis management body that only a few knew about, would play a key role.

    Once known that a tourist bus was hijacked and foreign nationals held hostage, SILG would immediately notify FVR, adding that it was Live on global TV. He probably would have been aware already since his office monitors the news round-the-clock. He would have deemed it a national concern paving the entry of NACAHT.

    FVR would instruct his crisis center in Malacanan manned by a joint AFP/PNP task force to coordinate with NACAHT. The National Security Adviser; DFA, DND, DOJ, DILG and Press Secretaries; and the President’s spokesman would be called to support the TF for the duration of the crisis. SILG would function as the Chief of the Office of Primary Responsibility to control the strategic play and keep FVR informed.

    SILG would activate NACAHT, position it at the top floor of the Manila Hotel to gain a vantage view, and have it controlled by the Vice-Chair and concurrent DILG USEC for Peace and Order. He would likely invite the MMDA Chair and Mayor of Manila to join the PNP Chief, senior reps from the national government and other experts vital to the mission. Equipment that the venue didn’t have would be brought in to provide NACAHT a functioning crisis center on the ground.

    An experienced and trustworthy ground commander (GC) to head the hostage rescue operations at the scene would be chosen next. He would quickly estimate the situation based on available intelligence, map out his strategy, draw up supporting plans and choose the personnel required to negotiate, disarm/disable or neutralize the hostage-taker while ensuring the hostages’ safety.

    The GC would then assemble a potent hostage-rescue team (HRT) – negotiator/s; psychologist/s; crowd / perimeter control and SWAT teams – based on capability and track record. Crucial considerations for selection would be the need for continuous intelligence gathering, communication, coordination, thinking on the run, physical stamina and split second decisions, often under duress.

    After NACAHT vets his strategy and plans, and obtains the TF’s concurrence, it would then be the GC’s play all the way. NACAHT would then become the GC’s advisory team and clearing house, breaking up into work shifts to monitor 24/7 to stay on top of the situation.

    Should an unforeseen factor arise along the way that could jeopardize the mission or impact on the nation’s honor and integrity, NACAHT and the GC would quickly assess and process courses of action, choose the best options, and elevate to the TF for the President’s approval.

    As soon as feasible, FVR would notify the Chinese Ambassador of the government’s efforts to ensure the safety of the hostages and its quick and peaceful resolution. He could graciously ask him and his police attache to advise the TF and NACAHT on the matter. He would also call the HK Administrator to keep him in the loop.

    The President’s moves would be disclosed by his spokesman in a series of controlled press conferences, while the Press Secretary would brief the press about the rules of engagement in this delicate situation. A media pool would be organized to cover the event under the strict control of the GC to ensure that no punches are telegraphed unwittingly that could put the rescue mission at risk.

    Regular feedback would be streaming to the TF from NACAHT. As commander-in-chief he could, if need be under extreme circumstances, intervene to order a freeze, to accelerate operations or modify strategies based on his appreciation of the dynamic situation. NACAHT would stay put in close proximity for quick communication and easy coordination until the job got done.

    That was how FVR and his senior team could have likely handled the situation. The veterans who manned their battle stations and experienced harrowing situations would only be too willing to help by sharing a thing or two with the incumbents.

    Enough said on that except for these personal observations:

    * SILG Jesse Robredo had/has no command and control over the PNP; his Undersecretary does, on instructions of the President. That raises serious legal issues and complicates the system of public administration and governance.

    * There was no functioning crisis management committee (CMC) either at the national or at the local levels. An inexperienced GC was all alone to figure things out without professional CMC backing.

    * The fraternal links of Manila Mayor Fred Lim, the ground commander, the HRT and the Mendoza brothers to the Manila Police Brotherhood, may have blurred logic, focus, priorities and dividing lines. The risk was the absence of check and balance, fanning laxity that led to tragedy.

    * A cardinal rule is to never agitate the hostage-taker. They did. There were golden chances to disarm/disable Mendoza before he could inflict any harm. They didn’t take it. A functioning CMC in support of the GC should have persuaded the Ombudsman to issue a report clearing Mendoza (non-binding because it was obtained under duress). It didn’t.

    That deception might have led him to give up at that stage. Then he could have been cuffed and charged for kidnapping, illegal possession of firearms and attempted murder; and locked away for good. It was worth a try, even if it failed, given his state of mind.

    * The GC must never leave his post until the crisis is over. He did, on the invitation of the Mayor who got hungry. Instead of sending for food, they proceeded to a place that was not equipped to monitor the situation, thus, was nowhere near when Mendoza started killing.

    * No one was thinking: of inserting a fiber optic camera to monitor the hostages and Mendoza; that Mendoza was monitoring from the bus’ radio-TV system and his cell phone, and was getting homicidal; of clamping down on the media that wanted to be part of the story instead of just reporting it.

    * A professional team would have taken a minute or less to break-in, board, blast Mendoza and secure the hostages. The PNP’s Special Action Force or Aviation Security Command would have been ideal, trained by the Australian SAS and Israel’s Yamam for close quarter battle (CQB). SAF was, in fact, on standby but never used.

    Could a tragedy have been avoided in any case? Assuming the right components were in place with the right mindset, probably. With bad luck, maybe not, precious lives could have still been lost. But at least the world would have witnessed cogent efforts to end it without bloodshed, and the country’s honor as well as the people’s morale and self-esteem may not have taken such a beating.

    I extend my deepest sympathies for the injured and sincerest condolences to the families of those who died. And for those who tried and failed, don’t despair; your fall might yet be your springboard to redemption. Just make it happen.


  10. Jay Samson said,

    September 6, 2010 at 11:52 am

    “Well, from confirmed reports, he was also hands on. His hands were on garlic prawns, fried rice, and pancit at Emerald Garden Restaurant!” – hehehe

    Yup, and orders were being given at Emerald Garden Restaurant:

    MAGTIBAY: “Mr. President, sir, awaiting your order, sir!”
    penoy: “Ah, OK, yung Yang chow fried rice, meron?”
    MAGTIBAY: “Sir, negative sa Yang chow, sir!”
    penoy: “Mayor Lim, ano nang order mo?”
    LIM: “OK na ako sa siopao.”
    MAGTIBAY: “Copy that sir, siopao. Mr. President, sir, plain rice na lang, sir!”
    penoy: “OK na rin yon.”

    Anyone out there care to tell us if the food at Emerald is really worth dropping whatever it is you’re doing?

  11. tomas pablo san andres said,

    September 5, 2010 at 10:07 am

    ang issue ay yung kakulangan ng goverment to handle a hostage crisis.

    inamin na ni Aquino, it points to him, so, tapos ang issue, mahina sa hands on problem solving sya, mahina ang advisers nya, mahina ang media think tank nya, in other words, mahina ang ulo nya sa ganyang pangyayari..

    brace ourselves for 6 more years, ika nga..

  12. Presy Guevara said,

    September 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Don Escudero’s points are well taken. His last sentence reminds me that not too long ago, melamine tainted milk from China victimized innocent children who quickly outnumber the eight victims at the Quirino Grandstand. Why patronize Chinese products over Philippine products? Why shop in Hong Kong now that we have plenty of shopping malls with high-end products?

  13. Myles Garcia said,

    September 3, 2010 at 6:18 am

    I’ve always hated Hong Kong with a passion. I only go there to change planes to & from Manila. I find the city overcrowded and congested. I know it’s close but I don’t know what Filipinos find so attractive about those arrogant, utterly repulsive HKG merchants. Am glad I never dropped any major ducats in that teeming, highly, highly over-rated…siopao factory.

  14. Don Escudero said,

    September 2, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    One of today’s papers had an article that said Hong Kong’s Tourism head wants to extend the ban on travel here by HK residents apparently indefinitely. Here’s a chance to get back at the arrogant prick.

    For decades, Hong Kong has been our favorite overseas destination. For generations it functioned as everyone’s shopping mecca. An entire city that was a 168-style mall, only across the sea. If Pinoys would just limit their trips to to the place to only the most essential travel, I think Hong Kong would suffer more from losing Philippine tourists than our tourism industry would from losing visitors from Hong Kong. More Pinoy shoppers go to HK every week than their tourists who visit us.

    The last time I went for medical reasons, the Marco Polo was 2/3rds occupied by Filipino tourists. Anyway, I decided to forego my PET Scan at the HK Sanatorium Hospital for the moment and have an MRI here instead.

    Also, I don’t think the hostility to our expatriate workers there will last. Their comfortable middle class existence is dependent on the work of our OFWs. And they should talk: Last time I was there someone was dropping acid-filled plastic bags on tourists. I didn’t hear them apologizing to the tourists who got sprayed or that they even caught the perpetrators.

  15. Myles Garcia said,

    September 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    If the situation involves foreign nationals, it will LOOK bad if the head honcho is not involved. If it’s just the natives, let the sisters or the incompetent KLASMEYTS (as spelled out in another blog 🙂 ) handle it–NOT the other way around.

    The thing too is, here was a chance for the CE to show his mettle. And of course, the answer was: what mettle?

    Speaking of the sisters…where was Tita Lupita? Where was cousin Mary M? Those are his supposed ‘media experts.’

  16. Toffee Tionko said,

    September 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm


    The President doesn’t answer the phone call of the Gov of Hkg. The Gov. is not a Head of State. The President’s job is to guard the safety and well being of the Nation. A problem in Manila City is the a local problem. It just happens to be in the near Malacanang but is still local. The President can make a phone call to the Mayor and give him all out support for resources and logistics when requested. He does not have to step in because he is not a trained hostage negotiator or a military tactician.

    Does he have to get on the phone with every crazy hostage taker from now on? I don’t think so. He has bigger problems to face such as the economy, education, rebellion, budget etc etc. The hostage situation in the Discovery Channel Bldg was about 12km from the White House. I don’t think Obama dropped everything and monitored the hostage negotiation and was ready to jump in if it failed. It was solved by the local Silver Springs Law Enforcement Agency.

  17. Ipê Nazareno said,

    September 2, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Toffee, is this enough reason why the President should have been more hands on:

  18. Ipê Nazareno said,

    September 2, 2010 at 9:16 am


    The President (i) should have answered the damn phone calls of Governor Tsang (or at the very least returned the calls); (ii) when after more than 10 hours and his underlings could not do the job, he should have stepped up (and, yes, even if this happened in Naic, Cavite, the President should have stepped in).

  19. September 2, 2010 at 6:11 am

    Thank you, Dindo. I’ll correct it right now.

    Toto Gonzalez

  20. Dindo Blanco said,

    September 2, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Thank you for setting the facts straight. Except for the age. I believe he was just turning or had just turned 50.

  21. Myles Garcia said,

    September 1, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Ipe wrote: “His hands were on garlic prawns, fried rice, and pancit at Emerald Garden Restaurant!”


    🙂 🙂 Where were the sisters? Why didn’t they take charge? 🙂

    Jay, and what would Erap have done? Send in cases of whisky and “comfort” girls?? At least anything was better than doing NOTHING at all.

    They just ended the hostage situation at the Discovery Channel headquarters in Maryland. Done. Next…

  22. tomas pablo san andres said,

    September 1, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    isa pa si sec. albert lim of tourism.

    sa interview the next day, no expression of worry man lang, he said isolated case only, the tourists will still be coming to us.

    impression binigay nya like–sigue lang mag hostage drama pa kayo, walang epecto sa tourism yan..

    yes, gordon as tourism sec. would have gone there at the scene right away and protected the tourists.

    and why did pnoy have to visit the crime scene with that smirk on his foolish face, what was that for, tapos na lahat, foto op lamang, obvious ba?

    rebredo hindi alam ang sasagotin dahil palpak sya, mag resign dapat, speaking of delecadeza..

    and the media now is trying to forget it ever happened to protect pnoy, obvious ba?

  23. Toffee Tionko said,

    September 1, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Why would the President have to be the one to handle a hostage crisis with a lone gunman and some hostages in a bus? He is the President of the country, not Metro-Manila. It should be the Mayor or any highest member of the LGU who can request for more resources from the National Government if the need arises. Had this happened in Cebu, Davao, or Naic, Cavite the Presiden’t name wouldn’t even come up.

  24. Jay Samson said,

    September 1, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Gibo would have taken charge from the start.
    Gordon would have taken the sledgehammer, walked to the bus, and shoved that thing down the hostage’s taker’s throat.
    Eddie V. would have called the faithful to Quirino grandstand and mobbed the guy.
    Villar would have offered the guy a gazillion pesos and sent Willie Revillame to do the negotiating.
    Don’t know what Jamby would have done. Who knows why she does anything in the first place?

  25. Ipê Nazareno said,

    September 1, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    The President was eating Chinese food at a Chinese restaurant while Chinese tourists were being hostaged.

    Former Sec. Len Bautista-Horn said that during her Pres. Gloria Arroyo was “hands on during times of crises.”

    As much as I don’t like Mrs. Arroyo, I must say that Former Sec. Bautista-Horn’s statement is true. Mrs. Arroyo immediately took command of the situation during the Oakwood, the Manila Peninsula, and the Danilo Lim-Fort Bonifacio incidents.

    Can we say the same about our present President?

    Well, from confirmed reports, he was also hands on. His hands were on garlic prawns, fried rice, and pancit at Emerald Garden Restaurant!

    Mr. President, just fess up and admit that you were sleeping on the job. Don’t worry, even if I had said before that the Presidency is not an “on the job training position”, as long as you admit your shortcomings during the first crisis of your Presidency, you will be forgiven. We do understand that you are still new at your job.

  26. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    September 1, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Pres. Aquino when interviewed that evening said they did not send high ranking officials there because the hostage taker might demand more.

    from the start, the demands were harmless, there was no reason to fear.

    lives were on line, so what if he demanded more?!

  27. September 1, 2010 at 4:44 am


    Please be reminded:

    From now on, comments with no real names, no email addresses that can be confirmed, and no reliable identity checks will no longer be allowed.

    Please upload your comment with the pertinent information.

    Thank you.

    Toto Gonzalez

  28. August 31, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    […] From the blog Remembrance of things awry comes news that Beijing did not like Donald Tsang calling Aquino. “A curious, but probably […]

  29. August 31, 2010 at 1:43 pm


    As you all know, I voted for Gilbert “G1BO” Teodoro Jr. for president last 11 May 2010. So I don’t have “voter’s remorse” about our incumbent president, Benigno S. Aquino Jr.. In fact, I wish him all the best as he leads our country.

    However, many of my friends who supported him wholeheartedly during the last election cannot face me directly these days.

    Toto Gonzalez

  30. Ipê Nazareno said,

    August 31, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Found this interesting clip from the ABS-CBN website:

    So where was the President during the Hostage Crisis? Apparently enjoying Chinese Food while watching the hostage drama unfold on TV!!!

    Now Malacañang is saying that “there was no failure of leadership during the hostage crisis.

    Really?!!! OK, show of hands….. who among the Noynoy voters here are experiencing “Buyer’s Remorse”?

  31. August 30, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Myles and Presy:

    I think I will skip Tiananmen square on my next trip to Beijing, China. It might have bad “feng shui” — too vast or something. I’ve been there a few times and I don’t understand all those commemorative steles anyway.

    Toto Gonzalez

  32. Presy Guevara said,

    August 30, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you Toto for expanding upon the story revealing the facts.I am humbly enlightened. My prayers for all the victims of both tragedies.

  33. Myles Garcia said,

    August 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    P.S. This happens everywhere: Columbine (1999, 12 students killed), the Virginia Tech killings (2005, 32 murdered), Mumbai (2008, 173 killed)…just to name a few recent ones.

    What about another high-profile bungled hostage-massacre in another developed nation? The horribly bloody mess of the 11 Israeli athletes killed by their Palestinian hostage-takers and then those murdered themselves at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, in then-West Germany?

    Even with the best intelligence and people in charge, anything can go wrong and usually does. The Chinese too have over-reacted. It’s just that there are more of them who complain.

  34. Myles Garcia said,

    August 30, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    (Toto and readers, the 2005 incident in Tiananmen Square you relate wasn’t the only one. I don’t know if this was reported in Manila but in 2008 when the Olympics were barely underway, a lone ‘loco’ attacked the elderly father-in-law of the U.S. women’s volleyball team coach (Hugh McCutcheon) at some shrine outside Beijing. He knifed the old man just out of the blue and then jumped from the tall tower to his death. So very similar to the Filipino family incident…just another senseless, isolated incident but unfortunately, involving innocent visitors.)

    Now back to the Manila Massacre and the man supposedly in charge… Well, “body” language tells it all…

    — and this was shown by a president who wanted to rule from his house on Times Street?

    — snubbed the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?

    Such a child. And again, who installed the grinning neophyte? Why, none other than Juan de la Cruz.

    Will the Philippines ever rise…salvage itself from its bumbling mediocrity?

  35. August 30, 2010 at 10:20 am

    The “father” was a most sweet and peaceful person. He was my classmate in high school at La Salle Greenhills. What a brutal and senseless way to die. BUT as the gospel this weekend said, YOU neither know the time nor day, so be always ready for death comes like a thief in the night.

    But I heard gossip that on the day of the massacre or BLOODBATH as I call it, PeNoy was giving important appointments like GINA LOPEZ was installed as Commissioner of Climate Change, also the brother of Conrad de Quiros was conferred a title. They say there was a party thrown by the Lopezes that night, and PeNoy was enjoying himself with the single ladies from ABS-CBN so RICKY CARANDANG dared not bother his BOSS with the repeated calls of CHANG. THIS is all HERESAY, but I’ll say it all makes sense that PeNoy finally showed up past MIDNIGHT at LUNETA grinning like a cat that ate the canary because he came from partying at the PALACE ?

    Another thing, ALFRED LIM is untouchable and unimpeachable in the eyes of PeNoy because it can be remembered that during LIM’S bid for the presidency, he and Cory were SUPPOSEDLY lovers.

    And how was your National Heroes DAY ?

  36. August 29, 2010 at 6:59 pm


    My cousins know/knew them personally. Only the father and the daughter were killed by the stabbing injuries. The mother/widow sustained severe injuries and stayed in the Beijing hospital for a month. She is alive and well in Manila. She maintains that it was prayer that sustained her through the entire ordeal.

    Toto Gonzalez

  37. Presy Guevara said,

    August 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Two days ago, Larry sent me an e-mail about the contrasts and parallels on this matter. On August 19, 2005, the father and his daughter died on the spot while the mother died at the hospital from her slash wounds. Perhaps Larry can reprint it here.

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