Congratulations Venus Raj and The Hostage Drama



I watched the Miss Universe Contest on Star World TV where Maria Venus Raj of Bato, Camarines Sur represented our country. She represented our country well. I agree with Donald Trump who said she was elegant and regal looking. She looked good in swimsuit and she was well poised.

The inclusion of Venus in the top five is not a small feat because she competed with more than eighty (80) beauties from different countries.

The judges were mostly whites. So I did not expect Venus to win the Miss Universe crown but I was still praying and hoping that she gets it. My belief is those white judges may not appreciate much the Filipina beauty and would be biased in favor of mestisa beauty.

For me, Venus did well in the question and answer portion. She was asked, “What is your major mistake in life and what did you do to correct it?” She answered: “At my age, I have not made a major, major mistake. Thanks to the proper guidance of my parents. That is why, I am here.” There are people who did not find her answer good. Her answer was to the point, “No major, major mistake.” She paused a little after the first word “major”, but pausing is not wrong while talking. She was asked about a major mistake and not about any problem. I heard radio commentaries that say she should have spoken about her father who abandoned them or about poverty which to me is not her mistake and it would be out of the subject matter.

I congratulate Venus Raj for winning the fourth runner-up. She may not have won the top crown but she represented our country with distinction. I’ll not be surprised if she will be offered someday soon to be a commercial model, ramp model, an actress, etc., after this. We should be proud of this Filipina. What matter is that she brought honor to our country and the Bicol region. Somebody said on radio: “At least the world watched a Filipina not as a maid.” Venus Raj has a Bachelor’s degree on Journalism and graduated as cum laude from the Bicol University.

I also watched the hostage-taking by Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza of a tourist bus with 25 tourists from Hongkong last Monday near the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta, Metro Manila on TV. The hostage drama started at 9:30 AM which lasted for twelve hours leaving eight tourists dead and four injured.

The bus driver Alberto Lubang who was able to escape reportedly said that Mendoza told the tourists that he will hold them hostage until 3 PM and will not hurt anyone. He said he just wants to discuss his sacking by the Ombudsman and no harm would be done if this demands were met. Mendoza even asked the tourists if they were hungry and directed Lubang to call the Hongkong Thai Travel Agency to bring food. Mendoza did not hurt anyone and jokes occassionaly.

Lubang said Mendoza’s mood changed when his demand was not met after seeking a document from the Ombudsman: He shouted, “this is not what I asked for.” Lubang said that Mendoza was further enraged when he said his brother, SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza on TV being handcuffed. He yelled that he was going to kill the hostages if his brother was not released.

During the Senate investigation, WPD chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay was forced to reveal that Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim ordered the arrest of his brother Gregorio Mendoza. DILG Sec. Robredo said that Lim was head of the Crisis Committee. So it was mayor, a former Police General  who called the shots. But Lim denied he ordered the arrest. He ordered to handcuff him to restrain him from helping his brother.

There are many lessons to be learned from this incident which is really an isolated case but has put the Philippines in a bad light all over the world and has badly affected our tourism industry and business opportunities here.

It was not right for President Aquino’s subordinates not to inform him about the telephone call of the Chief Executive of Hongkong Donald Tsang, only because it did not pass thru the Department of Foreign Affairs. They should have informed him and the decision to answer or not should be left to P-Noy. Foreighn Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, should have called Tsang immediately. If the situation is reversed, would they like our President to be ignored especially in an emergency situation like this? Now, our government is forming a delegation headed by Vice President Binay and Executive Sec. Ochoa that will go to Hongkong to express our apology and sorrow for the hostage incident.


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