MANILA, Philippines ? (UPDATE 3) The Office of the Ombudsman rejected a demand for reinstatement by the policeman who has been holding several foreign tourists hostage since early Monday following his dismissal from the force on drug-related charges but assured him that his case would be reviewed.
The Ombudsman?s position was contained in a letter delivered by Superintendent Orlando Yebra, one of the chief negotiators in the ongoing hostage drama at the Quirino Grandstand that began Monday morning, to hostage-taker Senior Inspector Ricardo Mendoza.
The contents of the letter were disclosed to INQUIRER.net by a source from the Office of the Ombudsman who requested anonymity for the meantime.
As of posting time, Mendoza and at least 16 hostages remained holed up inside the tourist bus. Nine have since been freed.
Yebra was accompanied by Mendoza?s brother Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza.
The sealed letter was delivered to by Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno who met with officials from the Office of the Ombudsman earlier on Monday.
Moreno revealed in a telephone interview aired over the ABS-CBN News Channel that the contents of the Ombudsman?s letter could help clear up things on the status of the appeal Mendoza filed regarding his dismissal from the service.
"Kung ako sa kanya, pag nakita ko ang sulat na ito ay magliliwanag ang kaisipan ko [If I were him, I would surely be enlightened after reading this letter]," Moreno said but refused to reveal the contents of the letter.
Moreno said he has been helping solve the hostage situation as a representative of the Manila City government. "We?re trying to come up with something, kanya-kanyang effort [to each his own effort]. I?m stuck in traffic but I just came from the Office of the Ombudsman. I have a letter for Capt. Mendoza," Moreno explained.
Mendoza was relieved from his post as chief of the Mobile Patrol Unit in 2008 for his alleged involvement in drug-related crimes and extortion, and was demanding to be reinstated, police said.
Mendoza took hostage at least 22 Chinese tourists from Hong Kong and three Filipinos after seizing a tourist bus at the Quirino grandstand Monday morning.
Mendoza, who has reaped awards for his work in the police service, was protesting his dismissal early this year for allegedly forcing a hotel chef to swallow shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) and for allegedly attempting to extort P20,000 from him during an interrogation. Mendoza has denied the charges and has filed an appeal with the Ombudsman.