Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mendoza’s woman friend tells NBI ‘she absolutely didn’t know’

The woman who claims to have accompanied former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza to Manila faced authorities on Tuesday, and maintained she did not know about his real plans that eventually led to the death of eight tourists and the ex-police officer himself.

The woman, identified only as “Rose," executed her affidavit before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday.

“Rose" said that although she accompanied Mendoza aboard her car on his trip from Batangas to Manila, she had nothing to do with the disgruntled policeman’s plan to hold hostage a busload of Hong Kong tourists. “Gusto ko lang pong malinis ang aking pangalan… Talagang walang-wala po akong alam. Kung ako po’y may alam doon, ‘di ko po siya [Mendoza] isasama," she said in an interview aired over GMA News’ “24 Oras" on Tuesday. (I just want to clear my name. I absolutely knew nothing. If I knew something about it, I wouldn’t have allowed him to go with me.)

She added that she allowed Mendoza to go with her to Manila on the belief that the former cop would go to the Manila Police District (MPD)’s headquarters to surrender his M16 rifle, without realizing he would later use it to keep the tourists hostage and later shoot them. “Hindi ko po alam na doon siya pupunta… Ako nga po ay talagang nalulungkot din sa ginawa niya. Ni sa panaginip, hindi ko po akalaing gagawin niya iyon," she said.

(I didn’t know that was where he was going. I myself am truly saddened with what he did. Never have I imagined he could do such a thing.)

She explained that she was convinced by Mendoza to allow him to drive the car, which was barred from Metro Manila streets that day due to the government’s number-coding scheme.

Mendoza explained that since he was in police uniform, he could easily avoid being apprehended by traffic authorities.

“Rose" surfaced to clear her name on Monday, a week after Mendoza was killed by members of the Manila police’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in a nighttime assault after negotiations failed during the hostage crisis. (See: Woman who brought hostage-taker to Manila surfaces)

Eight Hong Kong tourists died in the tragedy, in what has been generally acknowledged as a rescue attempt that failed due to a number of lapses both in the negotiation phase and during the actual assault. (See: Hostage crisis ends in bloody carnage; 8 hostages dead) The woman’s lawyer, Eugeryl Rondacio, meanwhile said that he hopes his client’s affidavit will help authorities complete its probe into the incident. “My client gave an official statement in the hope that this will set the facts (straight) and complete the investigation," he said. He added that his client has already surrendered her driver’s license to the NBI, and is expected to undergo psychiatric interrogation in the coming days.—Andreo C. Calonzo/JV, GMANews.TV

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