MANILA, Philippines ? (UPDATE) Broadcast commentator Erwin Tulfo arrived at the Quirino Grandstand at around 3:45 p.m. on Monday to help in negotiating with dismissed cop, Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, for the release of his foreign tourist hostages and a Filipino bus driver.
Tulfo arrived at the scene and entered the cordoned area after Mendoza posted another message on the bus where he has been holding foreign tourists and a Filipino driver, captive: "Media now."
Tulfo was briefed by the police about the situation before he approached the tourist bus carrying the hostages.
Mendoza posted the "Media now" message some 30 minutes after 3 p.m., the hour by which police negotiators and media were expecting something to happen following a message from Mendoza that stated "Big deal will start after 3 p.m. today."
Earlier in the day, Mendoza posted the message: "Big mistake to correct a big wrong decision.
It was not clear what the armalite-wielding hostage-taker exactly meant by these messages, as police negotiators continued to work to convince Mendoza to let the hostages go.
Negotiators had hooked up a phone line to the bus to facilitate negotiations with
Mendoza has extended the deadline he has set for authorities to give-in to his demands to 3:30 pm, his brother told reporters Monday afternoon.
Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza said that his brother, who was holding a bus-load of Chinese national tourists as hostage in front of the Quirino Grandstand in Manila agreed to his proposal.
Among the hostage-takers demands is his reinstatement to the police service, Mendoza said.
He added that his brother should not have been dismissed outright by the PNP since there is a pending motion for reconsideration on his case.
The hostage-taker was dismissed from service in 2008 for charges of manhandling and extorting from a chef whom he had accosted for suspected drug pushing.
As of noon, a gallon of gasoline was seen being loaded into the air-conditioned tourist bus "Hong-Thai," in which he earlier took at least 22 Chinese nationals from Hong Kong and three Filipinos hostage Monday morning.
Since then, Mendoza had released eight people: two women (who had asked to be allowed to go to the comfort), another woman, her two daughters and her son, a middle-aged man said to be diabetic, and the last another Chinese male tourist.
The man walked out of the bus and went straight to a huddle of policemen.
Superintendent Orlando Yebra and Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador have taken the lead in the negotiations with the hostage taker.
Background information obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Mendoza shows he has been facing charges for manhandling a suspect before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Mendoza has been passing messages to police negotiators through pieces of paper.