Senator Robinhood Padilla (center) and PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. (2nd from right) (Contributed photo)

MANILA – Senator Robinhood Padilla on Wednesday has accepted the apology of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. over an apparent gesture of discrimination against Muslim inmates linked to the recent hostage-taking incident at the police force's Custodial Center.

Padilla made this remark after visiting former senator Leila de Lima at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City where he also met with Azurin.

“I went here to the PNP to pay tribute to our Chief PNP Gen. Azurin because we Muslims were touched by his humility. I don't think there is a need to make an apology but he did. He humbled himself and he said that our police heroes will undergo an education drive. I am also here to show humility and apologize for the trouble caused by the Abu Sayyaf," Padilla said in mixed English and Filipino in a presser.

De Lima was held hostage by Feliciano Sulayao, one of the three inmates who were killed after a botched escape attempt from the facility on Oct. 9.

In a video of the incident, responding cops were heard repeatedly referring to the inmates as "Muslims", an act that Padilla and other Muslim stakeholders found discriminatory.

Padilla also said the acts committed by these inmates against de Lima are contrary to the teachings of Islam.

"In Islam, it's in the Quran, it says that when you hurt or kill an innocent person, it's like you've ended the human race, so that's the message we sent to the senator (de Lima) who is also Bicolano, I'm also really sad and also shocked but I am grateful to the PNP,” said Padilla.

Meanwhile, Padilla believes there is no need for lawmakers to investigate the hostage-taking incident involving de Lima.

“We're not investigators, although I graduated with a degree in Criminology. I probably won't be able to do that. There is already a lot of work in the Senate and our mandate is different and I think that Makabayan should not be like that. After all, it's okay, I believe that Senator Leila de Lima is okay. In my opinion, it's my own opinion, let the PNP take care of it,” he said, referring to the call of progressive lawmakers in the House of Representatives for a probe on the incident.

The PNP has earlier assured full cooperation with any investigation that will be conducted by other agencies and law enforcement units on the incident.

The Commission on Human Rights earlier said it has begun looking into the incident. (PNA)