MANILA, Philippines—As far as the Philippines is concerned, the death of eight Hong Kong tourists in a tragic bus hijack in Manila three years ago is a closed case.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) made this statement even as relatives of those who were killed in the incident took to a Hong Kong court Thursday and sued the Philippine government, including former Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, saying their demands for a formal apology and proper compensation have yet to be met.
“As far as we’re concerned, this matter has been fully settled,” DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said via text message on Friday.
Hernandez has yet to issue comments on the legal action, saying the home office has not received official communication about the case from the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong.
He earlier said it was the “prerogative of the families of the victims to take any action regarding this issue.”
Relatives of the Hong Kong tourists killed in the Aug. 23, 2010, bus hostage drama on Thursday filed a lawsuit against nine parties in the Philippines on the eve of the incident’s third anniversary to press for compensation and reiterate their demand for a formal apology.
Their loved ones were among 22 Hong Kong tourists taken hostage by disgruntled police officer Rolando Mendoza in 2010, an incident that grabbed international headlines following a bungled rescue.
Mendoza was known to have killed the eight victims before police shot him dead, ending a much-criticized police operation meant to end the standoff.
President Aquino had said it was not appropriate for the Philippine government to apologize for the incident as the state was not responsible for the harm inflicted on the Hong Kong tourists.
He, however, expressed deep regret for the bloodshed, a sentiment communicated to Hong Kong by former Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim to former Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Chang during a meeting on Dec. 16, 2010.
The House of Representatives and the Manila City Council also separately passed resolutions expressing sympathies to the Hong Kong people for the deaths. The Philippines has also provided “financial tokens of solidarity” to the victims’ families, the DFA said.