LOOKBACK: The Davao hostage crisis of 1989: Part 4
August 17, 1989: Hamills decry storming of jail
Editor’s note: In this series, INQUIRER.net looks back at four Philippine Daily Inquirer front page articles on the bloody hostage drama, which resulted in the deaths of 21 people, including Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill, who was raped by the inmates.
There has been renewed interest in the 1989 hostage crisis after leading presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte mentioned it during a campaign rally. The now viral video of his speech shows the tough-talking mayor giving a controversial remark on the incident.
Duterte, who had been mayor of Davao City for more than a year when the hostage taking happened, is not mentioned in the articles but was quoted saying days after the incident that the assault was the “only civilized option available to government at the time.” KS
READ: What went before
Below is the original news article published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 17, 1989 (Thursday):
SYDNEY, Australia – The parents of slain Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill yesterday blamed Philippine and Australian authorities for not doing enough to save their daughter.
Jean and Ray Hamill, parents of 10 including Jacqueline and her twin sister Avalen, described their daughter as a Christian with a calling who wanted to help “the small people.”
Jean bitterly told the Hobart Mercury, a local newspaper: Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Foreign Minister Gareth Evans were “too concerned about their budget to care about my daughter and now it’s too late.”
Her husband Ray criticized the Philippine military for staging the assault.
“Why the hell did they have to storm the prison?” he asked. “She gave her life to helping other people and now she has paid for it with her life.”
Jacqueline, 36, was one of 21 people killed during a military assault Tuesday on a military detention center in Davao, where inmates seized 15 hostages during bible classes on Sunday. She had arrived in the Philippines four weeks ago as a member of the Joyful Assemblies of God, a charismatic Christian group.
Evans, however, absolved the Philippine government of any blame for the killing of Hamill.
“I don’t think it’s something for which anyone can be placing any blame, express, or implied, on the Philippine Government,” Evans told reporters.
But he later told the Australian Senate she could have been hit by a military sniper.
He said a medical examination of the body at the Davao Doctors Hospital found “the cause of death was a gunshot wound from the back of the left chest region exiting near the collarbone.”
Reports that her throat was cut are quite incorrect, Evans said. “In the doctor’s opinion death was instantaneous and had occurred some hours previously which would indicate she had been shot during the attempted escape incident in the morning.”
He said Hamill appeared to have been hit by a bullet when gunfire broke out during the escape attempt. Hamill slumped as the group was retreated back through a gateway to the compound.
“It’s not clear where the fatal shot came from and that is one of the matters we are particularly asking the Philippine authorities to investigate,” he said.
Hawke earlier pledged his government would make all efforts to see that the killers are brought to justice.
“We will be staying in touch with her relatives and, of course, with the government of the Philippines to ensure that justice is done in regard to those who had perpetrated this awful crime,” he told reporters.
The Australian foreign ministry has directed its embassy in Manila to submit a complete report on the killing.
Steve Dangaard, first secretary of the Australian embassy, said a consular officer had been sent to Davao to “collect relevant information from authorities and witnesses to clarify the facts after an emotional and at times confusing chain of events.”
Dangaard also told the INQUIRER they could not do much during the hostage crisis since “the situation was not really on our hands.”
Denise Hamill, a sister of the slain missionary, said they had received a report saying Jacqueline was still singing and praying when she fell.
“Right to the last she was always trusting in God,” Denise said, adding that Jacqueline had vowed to become a missionary since she was a child.
“The Church was her whole life. She dreamed of teaching the Gospel as long as I can remember,” Denise said.
PART 1: 21 die in jail assault
PART 2: Hamill’s death shocks Aussies
PART 3: Prison assault coverup feared
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