Greenhills negotiator also led talks in 2010 Manila bus hostage crisis
MANILA, Philippines – He led the negotiations in one of the most sensational and deadly hostage-taking crises in Philippine history. On Monday, March 2, he was tapped to speak with another gunman once again.
Colonel Orlando Yebra, the chief negotiator in the 2010 Manila bus hostage crisis, also led the negotiations in the Greenhills hostage-taking incident on Monday.
“No one was allowed to talk with the hostage taker without clearance from the trained and expert negotiator, Colonel Orlando Yebra Jr,” the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said in a statement on Tuesday.
Yebra was the chief of the Manila Police District legal division when a raging former Philippine National Police officer Rolando Mendoza hijacked a tourist bus in Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines on August 23, 2010. It was not an episode he likes to reminisce when speaking with reporters. (READ: LIST: Hostage-taking incidents in the Philippines)
The 2010 hostage crisis ended with the death of 8 Hong Kong tourists who were held hostage, after police arrested the brother of Mendoza which triggered him to open fire. The Philippine government and the media were also criticized for poor handling of the crisis, which ended with Hong Kong issuing a “black” travel alert against the Philippines.
In April 2018, a decade after the tragedy, President Rodrigo Duterte publicly apologized to Hong Kong on behalf of the Philippines.
March 2, 2020 was a familiar yet different story for Yebra.
The hostage taker now is a disgruntled former security guard Alchie Paray, who had a labor dispute with his management in the Greenhills Shopping Center and his security agency. He took some 30 people hostage in the administration office of V-Mall, and demanded to speak with fellow guards and the media.
San Juan City and the police complied with the demands.
Unlike in 2010 where media were told to stop live coverage, reporters in the Greenhills hostage incident were urged to go live, as Paray demanded that his conversations with authorities be broadcast to the public.
In speaking with Paray, Yebra was faced with a bizarre request: he wanted his bosses to literally eat bills worth P2,500. Yebra negotiated for the less sensational – a public apology and their resignation.
Yebra was also orderd by Paray to inform reporters about this agreement, which was why at around 5:10 pm, Yebra left the mall and faced the media.
"In exchange for him to concede was my announcement to you that I requested him not to demand any more," Yebra said in Filipino.
After the bus hostage crisis in 2010, Yebra has since risen through the ranks of the police. Coincidentally, he is now the deputy chief for operations of the Eastern Police District, which has San Juan under its jurisdiction. – Rappler.com