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(RTTNews) – Philippines President Benigno Aquino has owned moral responsibility for the country’s bungled hostage rescue operation that resulted in the death of eight Chinese tourists last month.

“I am responsible for everything that has transpired,” he told reporters on Friday. Aquino, who was accused of not taking the initiative to resolve the 11-hour hostage crisis, vowed that those directly responsible for the bungled negotiations and rescue operations would be dealt with due punishment.

Dismissed senior inspector Rolando Mendoza of the Manila Police District (MPD) hijacked on August 23 a tourist bus carrying 21 foreigners, mostly from Hong Kong, and four Filipinos. Police stormed the bus and shot dead the hostage-taker, but not before he opened fire at the captives, killing eight of them.

Philippines’ Interior Secretary in-charge of the police, Jesse Robredo, admitted during a Senate hearing later that his forces committed serious lapses in handling the crisis.

Four officers who led the botched hostage rescue operation were dismissed.

Hong Kong and China reacted strongly to the attack and demanded an apology by Manila and compensation for the victims. They also demanded from the Philippines government a “detailed and comprehensive” inquiry report on the tragedy.

A probe panel headed by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is expected to complete the investigation by Monday.