President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III said Friday he is taking full responsibility for the bungled handling of the August 23 Manila hostage crisis that claimed the lives of eight tourists from Hong Kong.
"At the end of the day, I am responsible for everything that has transpired," Aquino said in an interview with reporters in Manila.
The President made the statement in defense of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, who faces possible grilling from the Commission on Appointments on the outcome of the hostage-taking incident. The Philippine National Police, which handled the hostage crisis, is an attached agency of the DILG.
On Thursday, Senator Francis Escudero said Robredo might have a hard time in getting the nod of the bicameral body because of his poor handling of the hostage incident.
Escudero said Robredo will have to explain why there was a need to divide the functions of the DILG, making it difficult to handle the hostage tragedy.
In the interview Friday, Aquino was optimistic that "Secretary Robredo will be able to explain."
Robredo was reportedly in charge of matters concerning the local goverment while DILG Undesecretary Rico Puno was in charge of police matters and public safety issues, including critical incidents such as hostage-taking.
The President explained that when he appointed Robredo, they were still undecided on how to best handle the department. He said that during that time, there was a need to "improve" local government units (LGU) and "consolidate" the security forces.
Aquino admitted that he asked the DILG chief to "concentrate" on the LGUs. "There are so many things that have to be tackled by that agency especially in delivery of services, I asked him to concentrate on that," he said.
On the other hand, Aquino said he would retain direct supervision of the Philippine National Police (PNP) until such time that they have "addressed other concerns specifically promises to the informal settlers of our country."
"There's a need for a comprehensive plan there," he said. - with Kimberly Tan, VVP, RSJ GMANews.TV
Reposted From Kimberly Tan Of GMA News.TV