No approval for Philippine flag on hostage-taker's coffin

20:28, August 27, 2010      

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The draping of the Philippine flag over the coffin of dismissed police captain-turned-hostage taker Rolando Mendoza had no government approval, the Philippines Presidential Palace said Friday.

Ramon Carandang, secretary of Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning, said the draping of the flag was an act of Mendoza's family and it had no approval from the government.

He agreed it was not proper, and said the Palace was upset by the incident.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the flag should not have been draped over Mendoza's coffin, even if he used to be a member of the Philippines National Police.

"There are rules and protocol with respect to the manner of display of the Philippines flag and we do not consider the display of the Philippines flag in this particular instance as conforming with existing rules," it said.

The Chinese embassy to the Philippines, in a statement on Thursday, said it "condemns the brutality of the criminal and expresses its strong indignation over this irritating act."

"The person who deserves a national flag at funeral should be someone of heroism, decency and integrity, not someone who inflicts atrocity on innocent lives. This is nothing but a smear on the dignity of the Philippines national flag," the statement said.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, quoting Tanuan city mayor Sonia Torres Aquino, said the flag had been removed.

Mendoza, a dismissed police officer, took 21 Hong Kong tourists hostage in Manila on Monday. The siege ended with Mendoza and eight tourists dead and seven others wounded.



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