Thursday, March 29, 2007


I haven't been so engrossed watching a live news feed since O.J. Simpson was being chased by the police in the Los Angeles freeway. At that moment, I suddenly lost interest in watching the rest of the national telecast of a Knick playoff game; all I wanted was to see how this chase was going to end. Yesterday was just the same. I was glued to the live TV news report from Manila's city hall area; neglecting the other significant errands I needed to accomplish that day.

Manila's hostage crisis yesterday in which 32 day care pupils and two teachers were held captive by two heavily-armed men inside a tourist bus not only captivated the city's attention, but the entire country's I'm sure.

Regardless of the intentions, politics, principles and philosophies of the hostage-takers, thank God, no child or adult suffered any physical harm.

However, contrary to common belief, according to a morning TV news report, the scene yesterday was not without a violent episode.

Apparently, two members of the media duked it out right in front of hundreds of reporters and policemen. The altercation was attributed to an ongoing feud between these two men -- one finally had enough of the other's relentless ridiculing of his press stature and credentials. An unsightly brawl soon followed.

Ang kukulit!


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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:50 AM


Anonymous tutubi said...

uy una ako :)

not only but the world too
got the new also quite fast on my CNN and BBC RSS feeds :(

sikat na naman pinas

March 29, 2007 9:38 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

This is bad publicity for the Philippines (again). I was also surprised by the way the authorities handled the case. All those people who where allowed to go near the bus, the ego tripping of Bong Rivilla and especially Luis “Chavit” Singson .
Hostage taking cases are serious business and should be handled by professionals who are trained for such cases. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Singson taking care of the hand grenades. Will it win him any votes?

It is indeed good that everything ended well with the release of all the hostages. It could have ended in a bloodbath.

Concerning my interactions with the media people they are mostly positive and friendly. I never forget that I am an amateur and that they are doing it for a living. Normally I will always give way to them.
But on one occasion I was really pissed off. You know that I am quite tall and during a campaign sortie of opposition candidates in front of Quiapo church a journalist summoned me to move away and go behind ALL the other journalists. I told him I would go a bit on the side so he could take pictures without any problem. When he left the scene, I waved at him and I shouted “have a nice evening, sir” with a big smile. He showed me his middle finger as an answer. Without doubt the first time someone was so rude with me in the Philippines. I can imagine that someone with a higher ego than me might have started a fight.

March 29, 2007 11:21 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

"were" ;-)

March 29, 2007 11:22 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I can imagine how riveting a news item this was worldwide, Tito, especially with pre-school kids involved. Sort of reminds me of an incident inside a theater in the Ukraine (was it?) which ended in bloodbath.

March 29, 2007 11:30 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Sidney!

Firstly, this was a priceless photo opportunity and I was sure any senatorial candidate was intensely jealous for Bong Revilla to have monopolized the camera time. Nonetheless, I couldn't help but suspect that Revilla was taking advantage of all the media attention.

If I had been in his situation and dead serious about my concern for the welfare and safety of the hostages, right after agreeing to absorb the education costs of those children (which I doubt he would personally fulfill), I would have asked for at least five kids to be freed in return.

But then again, somehow my intuition told me that this hostage taker had no serious intention to inflict any harm on any of these kids; otherwise, he would never had even bothered to buy an almost two-day supply of food and water for the hostages before taking over the bus.

That middle finger business was totally uncalled for and unprofessional. Being a photojournalist is certainly not an easy job but that doesn't give one the license to be nasty and rude, either. If I were him, I'd even be nicer to my fellow journalists, for one of them may someday give me a break for a higher paying assignment.

March 29, 2007 11:50 AM  

Blogger Rick M. said...

at one point, i was thinking this is all orchestrated by bong. for good publicity.

i know it's a wild idea. but hey, the president does it all the time. i bet anybody can do it as well.

hay, bad image nanaman ang pilipinas.

and that chavit singson. ugh. people from our province know him personally and marami siyang pinatay and ninnakaw. ugh.

March 29, 2007 12:05 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You know what, Rick? The very same thought came to mind ... to those of many I've spoken to as well. A simple dead giveaway was his not asking for even one or two kids to be freed in return for giving in to one of Ducat's demands -- besides the one kid released because of suffering from a fever.

Also, this may seem twisted, but I don't think ths incident painted a a bad image of us to the world. If anything, it only magnified the bad that pervades our political system.

As for Singson, no wonder he had an army of bodyguards when I ran into him years ago at the lobby of Holiday Inn in Malate. Afraid of something/someone maybe?

March 29, 2007 12:17 PM  

Blogger carlotta said...

the student of my friend (korean) learned about the news on cnn. kakahiya. i find the situation very weird, coz if the hostage-taker says that he loves the children, he shouldn't have used them to get what he wants. really weird.

March 29, 2007 12:29 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You got a point there, Carla, and reason enough to be embarrassed by the whole incident.

But to me, there was more of the "weird factor" at play yesterday than a real possibility of the hostage taker to make good on a threat to inflict a nefarious act on everyone on board that bus.

March 29, 2007 12:39 PM  

Anonymous bob said...

The guy has history of grabbing everyones attention with his bizarre antics. His screws needs some tightening. I think this latest stunt was planned with the help of those politicos who were on the seen and want to be percieved as "heroes". Too bad in a polite and decent society this case will be taken seriously and the real motives/planners will be exposed and persecuted. But being the philippines oh well, this sure beats watching those boring noontime talk shows.

March 29, 2007 1:43 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

See? Even you, Bob, had that suspicion -- that everything might have been a preconceived drama. But then again, it may eventually backfire on the entire production team :)

If anything, I really hope that our "masa" is finally able to see through all these illusions and truly exercise their powerful right this coming election!

March 29, 2007 2:06 PM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Good thing Richard Gomez wasn't there. Or Cesar Montano! Or Tito Sotto, Loren Legarda, and all showbizzy candidates.. Hay, naku!! I'm not voting for them nor Chavit.. or I might not vote at all.... if I have the right to vote, I also have the right not to vote. Baka magkulong na lang ako sa bahay.. at i-hostage ang aking sarili sa mga household chores.. hehehe.

March 29, 2007 3:47 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Can you imagine if those actors/celebrities you mentioned were actually there? It would've been an all-star cast -- an epic! Lol!

Hmmm ... don't waste your valuable vote, Rhoda.

March 29, 2007 3:59 PM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

the first thing that we saw on CNN yesterday morning was the news about the hostage taking. and when i saw revilla outside the bus... i told hubby "maybe he thinks he's making a new action movie. although, this isn't one where the director can yell "CUT!". it's a publicity stunt for everyone involved.

that madman wanted to air his complaints, but this isn't how u do it! i feel sorry for the children, we don't know what trauma or psychological effect it might have on them.

March 29, 2007 5:07 PM  

Anonymous baddie said...

Haven't followed the story enough. I just read an article on Yahoo! News. Anyway, I admire Ducat's passion. He has a history of doing high-profile stunts like this, so I'm not really into the whole "staged" idea. The man has a point. He just used a way to get it across that is highly offensive to most people. My two cents.

March 29, 2007 5:39 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

From what I heard, Sheilamarie, there were other politicians at the sidelies but weren't able to get into camera range. That's what it seemed -- a major political stunt.

Sadly, the kids were used as stage props.

March 29, 2007 5:58 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Everyone's two cents are welcome here, Baddle! The fact that Ducat had done similar stunts in the past coupled with his ties with Revilla made the whole scene yesterday suspect. I wouldn't be surprised if nothing happens to Ducat, legalwise, at the end.

March 29, 2007 6:01 PM  

Blogger Kyels said...

The world used to be safe and it could still be saved but I guess looking at the circumstances that are invading the globe now, it's hard to keep safety within a high level ... ):

March 29, 2007 9:51 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

I am quite amused by what I just got through reading from your blog friends comments on the hostage incident in Manila. I've never seen the footage of the drama yet but I do believe as some of you have said, that it is a major publicity production by the spin doctors and kingmakers of Pinoy politics. "JE Production presents!...HOSTAGE! STARRING Bong Revilla and Luis Chavit Singson". Written and directed by Jinggoy Estrada.

I can't recall any incidents with any of my fellow photojournalists when I used to ply the streets of Manila for photos and footages to bring back to my editor., except for one very rare incident when I left my cameras at a friends house and remembered that I have to shoot a beauty pageant presscon. I came in with a Kodak pocket camera 110mm and of course my credentials, but the security personnel at the hotel refused to let me in the poolside where the event was going on.

March 29, 2007 10:34 PM  

Blogger dave (",) said...

First heard about it around noontime when I decided to visit Yahoo.

I refuse to blog about it because I do not want to add to the attention this looney and the politicians are getting big time.

The timing of staging this farce of a hostage drama on a slow news day for media outfits around the world is somewhat diabolical. Not to mention the use of children--since I think this one really gets the West's attention.

March 29, 2007 11:34 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I guess, it shows that safety is relative, Kyels. There are much too many factors coming into play these days.

March 30, 2007 6:14 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Noypetes! I was warned by Sidney that going to media events with just a point & shoot camera may make people not take me seriously despite carrying press credentials. But a Kodak 110mm pocket camera? I think I had one of those (it used flash cubes, right?).

March 30, 2007 6:22 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And now the parents of those hostages refused to file complaints against Ducat, Dave. I must admit that it was the children held hostage that got me riveted to the TV that day, but 15 minutes or so into it, I realized that this guy was not going to do them harm.

Nonetheless, I'm most grateful that no one got hurt, except those two media men who suffered minor facial bruises from having traded blows with each other.

Can't help but suspect that this whole things was staged.

March 30, 2007 6:32 AM  

Blogger BW said...

Glad the incident did not result in deaths or injuries but one thing I am curious about is - is the govt bound to fulfill its promises to this man ? Was it just an uto-uto so he can lay his weapons down and release the kids?

March 30, 2007 6:55 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I think the school, AMA, has started documenting the kids for coleege scholarships. But the grade school to high school have always been available free anyway.

March 30, 2007 7:04 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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