De Lima to appear before HK gov’t probe panel on hostage incident
MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Leila De Lima will fly to Hong Kong to appear before the Hong Kong government’s investigation in connection with the Aug. 23, 2010, Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking incident.
“I think I have to go as chair of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC). I really have no choice,” De Lima said.
The IIRC conducted the investigation in connection with the incident and made several recommendations to President Benigno Aquino III. The IIRC report was also submitted to the Hong Kong government.
De Lima said she was waiting for further instructions from President Aquino with regards to the memorandum she has submitted to him regarding the incident.
At the same time, she said she still clarifying if the request of the Hong Kong government to allow 116 witnesses to appear before its probe panel is covered by the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).
“If it partakes of the nature of criminal proceedings, then the MLAT applies,” she said.
De Lima reiterated that invoking the MLAT is the best way to go.
Under the treaty, the Philippine government can only assist in sending summonses sent by the Hong Kong government to witnesses within the Philippines.
"It’s our obligation to assist in terms of sending summonses to the witnesses named but we cannot compel the witnesses to go to Hong Kong, that is not in the contemplation of the MLAT," she said.
Eight Hong Kong tourists were killed during the hostage-taking incident.
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