Manila Hostage Crisis

A former police officer took a busload of tourists hostage in downtown Manila on Monday morning, opening a 12-hour standoff that was broadcast live on television, including its end as police commandos stormed the bus before a watching crowd.

Eight tourists, all from Hong Kong, were killed, along with the hostage-taker. He was identified as Rolando Mendoza, a 55-year-old officer who had been accused of robbery and extortion and was fired last year.

Philippine authorities acknowledged for the first time Thursday that some of the tourists taken hostage in a bus standoff last month may have been shot by police in the bungled rescue operation.

Until now, Manila police had said officers did not kill any of the hostages. The driver of the bus also told investigators that the hostage-taker shot each of the passengers at close range.

But on Thursday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima -- who is leading an official inquiry into the August 23 incident -- told reporters there was a "big possibility" that some of the passengers in the bus died in "friendly fire."

Hong Kong has expressed angry shock at the Philippines after the deaths of eight of its tourists in a bus hijack, cancelling all travel to the country.

The Chinese government has also demanded a thorough investigation of how the tragedy was handled.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has promised to provide answers.

Questions have been raised over how police failed to enter the bus before eight tourists were shot by a rogue policeman.

A dismissed police official has taken hostage 25 passengers of a tourist bus, including some children, in Manila this morning, a radio report said.

The report said Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, formerly with the Manila Police District-mobile division, was sacked from service for drug charges.

Armed with an M-16 assault rifle, Mendoza boarded a Hong Tai tourist bus that was parked at the Luneta Grandstand in Manila.