Senators divided on whether Aquino should apologize to Hong Kong

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

MANILA -- The Senate is divided on whether or not President Benigno Aquino III should apologize to the government of Hong Kong for the death of its citizens during a hostage-taking incident in Manila in 2010.

In a report published Wednesday on New York Times, President Benigno Aquino III said that the government would not apologize over the death of Hong Kong tourists, as this could create a "legal liability."

Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senator Jinggoy Estrada supported Aquino's stance, saying the National Government was not at fault for the incident, which resulted to the death of eight Hong Kong nationals.

"I'm sorry. The apologies have been made, below the President's level. I do not see the need for an apology. The victims have been compensated and I do not believe that an apology is called for," Drilon said.

Estrada, for his part, said the most acceptable apology at this point is from the City Government of Manila, where his father, former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada, is mayor.

"My father is willing to apologize anytime. He is willing to go to Hong Kong to talk to the authorities in Hong Kong to apologize for what happened in behalf of the City of Manila, not in behalf of the National Government. So I think it is not necessary for the President to apologize to the Hong Kong authorities," he said.

"I think it was the former officials of the city of Manila na nagkamali. They messed up the whole thing," the senator added taking a swipe at former Manila mayor Alfredo Lim, who was the local chief executive when the incident happened in 2010.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., for his part, said that the National Government should own up to the hostage crisis especially that foreign tourists were the victims in the incident.

"They are guests in our country and this terrible thing happened to them. So I don't see what is the harm in apologizing. As I have said before, I find the position that the Philippine government has taken not to say sorry, a little hard to understand. It would be such a simple thing to do, it would not cost the government anything," he said.

Marcos added that Aquino should think of the welfare of the overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong's sanction against the Philippines took effect suspending its visa-free entry to diplomatic passport holders and Philippine government officials. (Sunnex)

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