At least 4 of the 15 hostages were killed, and one was critically wounded, a spokesman for the President Benigno S. Aquino III said Monday night. Six others were shown on television crawling out of the bus after police assault teams moved in.
A man shown slumped and apparently lifeless by the main door of the bus was identified on television reports as the gunman, but the authorities did not immediately confirm his fate.
Live video from the scene showed police commandos, their rifles drawn, surrounding the bus, slamming windows with sledgehammers and opening an emergency exit as emergency vehicles converged in the rain. Gunshots were heard as they swarmed the bus.
A short time earlier, the driver of the bus managed to escape after cutting himself loose from handcuffs the hostage-taker had put on. The driver jumped through a window, ran from the bus and screamed, “Everybody is dead!” to a group of journalists who had clustered at the scene.
The police began the assault moments after the driver escaped.
At least nine hostages had been released earlier, including three children and a diabetic. Three of the freed were Filipinos. According to the authorities, there were 15 other people inside before the police began their assault.
The drama began at 10 a.m. when a former police officer identified as Rolando Mendoza, 55, boarded a Hong Thai Travel tour bus and took the passengers hostage.
Rodolfo Magtibay, the chief of the Manila Police District, told reporters on the scene that the Mr. Mendoza had demanded the return of his job and benefits. Authorities said that Mr. Mendoza had been dismissed in 2009 after accusations he had extorted money from a hotel chef accused of using drugs.
The bus sat parked with its curtains drawn at the Quirino Grandstand near the Manila Bay, a public plaza where presidents usually take their oaths of office. For hours, live broadcasts indicated no movement inside the bus, except when three shots were fired through the windshield.
The presence of cameras appeared to play a role in how the standoff unfolded.
The situation seemed to escalate after the gunman’s brother, Gregorio Mendoza, who is also a police officer, complained to reporters gathered near the scene that the police had wanted to implicate him in the hostage-taking. He also accused the police of trying to kill him. In front of the cameras, Officer Mendoza was picked up the by the police and shoved into a police car, his relatives wailing behind him.
Earlier, the hostage-taker had warned the authorities not to harm his family.
There were shots heard soon after the gunman’s brother was taken into custody, raising the possibility that those on the bus were watching the crisis play out on television monitors inside.
Throughout the day, the gunman wrote his demands on cardboard, which he would then paste on the windshield of the bus. One of the messages read, “Big mistake to correct a big wrong decision.”
Late in the afternoon, he posted a message saying, “Media now,” apparently telling journalists to come to him. But the police prevented reporters from even getting near the bus.
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9