The uncertain search for justice in the August 2010 Manila bus hostage tragedy

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Philippines Law Journal

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University of the Philippines


Philippines, judicial inquiry, sovereign immunity


In December 2010, a number of Hong Kong legislators (and others from a wide spectrum of political parties) requested the presence of some 116 witnesses from the Philippines. They were being summoned to Hong Kong for the purpose of giving their testimony at a Coroner’s inquest relating to the eight Hong Kong tourists who were killed during the bus hijacking and related standoff that occurred on August 23 2010. However despite the views from Hong Kong’s Legislative Counsel (or Legco) there are many serious objections relating to the request for the witnesses as well as the nature of the Coroner’s Inquest itself. First and foremost, it is suggested that both in terms of the objective finding of fact on the part of the judiciary, as well as the best interests of the Republic of the Philippines there is no reasonably obtainable “upside” to the exercise. However this lack of a clearly obtainable positive outcome is balanced by a range of highly negative outcomes for both the people and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines which may well have an impact for years to come. This article will attempt to outline the specific difficulties and potential risks of sending a contingent of witnesses to Hong Kong as well as referring to the jurisdictional difficulties in doing so. It is hoped that this display of skepticism will offer the reader a concise insight into not only what those witnesses may expect during their testimony, but also the wider impact that this may have on the Philippines and its interests in Hong Kong and the wider world.

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Recommended Citation

Rice, J. A. (2011). The uncertain search for justice in the August 2010 Manila bus hostage tragedy. Philippines Law Journal, 85(2), 288-298.

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