According to some insiders the Manila Police District's (MPD) own "Super" SWAT headed by Senior Insp. Jonathan dela Cruz, would've done a better job in handling the hostage situation.
Unfortunately, the team within the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) which is an elite squad composed of veteran marksmen and arms experts, were kept out of the loop during the incident.
The Aug. 23 hostage drama at the Luneta Park left eight tourists and the hostage-taker dead.
“It’s embarrassing. We’re going to be used as an example of what not to do in a hostage situation.” said the squad leader during an interview with the press.
According to Philippine Daily Inquirer, Dela Cruz was supposed to have taken command of the MPD SWAT on Aug. 23, but a petition by some existing members—those who did not belong to his trusted circle—succeeded in retaining Chief Insp. Santiago Pascual as commander and keeping Dela Cruz and his team out of the action.
Other officials expressed regret that it wasn't Dela Cruz and his team who handled the hostage incident.
“I kept getting calls from people, from SWAT units in Metro Manila and my SWAT friends in the United States and Australia, and even British reporters, asking me what I was doing. They thought I was in command,” he said.
“I just told them: ‘I’m not there.’”
Super SWAT earned the moniker from its members’ penchant for wearing Level 4 gear all the time—decked out in bullet-proof vests, helmets and kneepads and carrying top-of-the-line M-16 rifles and handguns.
“Some people thought we looked arrogant because we were wearing all our equipment. That’s when they started calling us ‘Super SWAT.’ They said we were elitists,” Dela Cruz said.
One of his men chimed in: “It was not meant to be a compliment.”