MANILA, April 22 -- Philippine government officials expressed on Tuesday hope that the trip of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada to Hong Kong would strengthen the efforts of the national government to find a mutually acceptable and satisfactorily closure to the Hong Kong hostage crisis of 2010.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Aquino administration hopes that Estrada's initiative would help in putting closure on the issue.
"We certainly hope it will contribute to the national government's efforts to achieve closure and mutually satisfactory conclusion," he said at a news briefing in Malacanang, the presidential palace.
Estrada left Manila for Hong Kong Tuesday morning. Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras denied reports that he left for Hong Kong with Estrada on Tuesday, saying that he was attending meetings in Manila.
Hong Kong has been demanding an apology from the Philippine government over the mishandling of the hostage taking in August 2010.
But, Philippine President Aquino III had earlier said neither he nor the national government should apologize for the hostage incident since it was done by a disgruntled individual.
Asked if the Aquino administration has changed its position of not apologizing over what happened, Lacierda said he was not privy on the developments.
Philippine Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras has been tasked to talk with Hong Kong.
A dismissed police officer took a busload of tourists hostage in central Manila on Aug. 23, 2010 to demand his reinstatement in the police force. A botched police rescue attempt prompted him to open fire on his hostages before he was gunned down. Eight Hong Kong tourists were killed.