Pampanga lawmaker’s wife among victims of Resorts World attack

Mara Cepeda
Pampanga lawmaker’s wife among victims of Resorts World attack

Rappler.com

(UPDATED) PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa confirms Elizabeth Panlilio Gonzales, wife of Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr, is among the victims. Police are still locating her sister, Consolacion Mijares.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The wife of Pampanga 3rd District Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr was among the victims of the attack of a lone gunman on Resorts World Manila on Friday, June 2. 

The name of Elizabeth Panlilio Gonzales was in the list of victims released by Resorts World Manila on Friday afternoon. 

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas confirmed the news to House reporters.

Fariñas asked the help of Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to help locate Elizabeth’s body.

The Resorts World Manila list says her remains are currently at the Veronica Funeral Homes in Pasay City.

Fariñas then sent the media a copy of the text message reply of Dela Rosa, who said police were still locating Elizabeth’s sister, Consolacion Mijares.

“Sir, positive wife of Rep Dong Gonzales of Pampanga is Elizabeth Panlilio-Gonzales – died in the incident. We are still looking for her sister, Consolacion P. Mijares. No report yet,” Fariñas quoted Dela Rosa as saying. 

As of posting, Gonzales is on his way back from Ilocos, where ranking House members are inspecting northern Luzon highways, roads, and infrastructure as part of the lower chamber’s oversight functions.  

At least 37 people were killed when a “lone gunman” fired gunshots and set ablaze gaming tables at the casino floor of Resorts World Manila. Dela Rosa said the gunman killed himself inside a hotel room.

The police already ruled out a terrorist attack, despite the report of terrorism monitoring group SITE that a Filipino operative working with the Maute Group claimed responsibility for the Islamic State (ISIS).

ISIS, through its Amaq news agency, has since said it was behind the Resorts World Manila attack.

Sobriety, vigilance

Lawmakers called for sobriety and vigilance following the incident.

Muntinlupa City Representative Ruffy Biazon, vice chairperson of the House defense and security committee, urged the public to remain calm “and avoid actions that could fuel more confusion and unnecessary anxiety to others.”

Biazon said the public should “believe only what is reported in legitimate news organizations” and avoid relaying information that did not come from official sources.

Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, a former soldier, also tagged the attack as an “isolated incident.”

“Let us not panic and avoid labeling the attack as terroristic or perpetrated by ISIS. Allow first our authorities to fully address and investigate the incident,” he said.

Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi de Jesus hopes the Resorts World attack will not be used to expand martial law to the rest of the country.  

“We call for sobriety and vigilance. This incident must not and should not be used as part of a script to set the tone for the extension and expansion of the martial law declaration,” said De Jesus.

IN GRIEF. Relatives of victims of the attack at the Resorts World Hotel in Pasay on June 2, 2017. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

Questions

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III wants authorities to investigate what happened to the hotel-casino’s security arrangements, which allowed one person to set a gaming floor on fire. Pimentel also wondered if Resorts World’s sprinkler system worked. 

He also has some questions for the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor). 

“To Pagcor: Do you only concern yourself with gambling operations of these private casinos and you don’t anymore concern yourself with security arrangements and physical matters like fire safety of the establishment you allow casinos in?” asked Pimentel. 

Senator Francis Pangilinan urged the police and other concerned agencies “to exert all effort and resources to get to the bottom of things.”

“How did the gunman escape the scrutiny of the hotel security? What is his background and what prompted him to do such a daring crime? What did the police, security personnel, and hotel officials do to respond to the situation? No stone should be left unturned in efforts to bring justice to the victims,” he said.

Senator Grace Poe also called on the management of hotels, malls and other commercial establishments “to enforce strict security measures to thwart similar incidents and ensure the security and safety of their clients.” – Rappler.com

 
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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.