MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte wants to know why victims of the Resorts World Manila attack were unable to exit the hotel-casino, leading to their deaths via suffocation.
Duterte, speaking to reporters after visiting a Japanese helicopter carrier in Subic Bay, said he has one question for the management of Resorts World Manila.
“One question – bakit walang exit na marami (why weren’t there many exits)?” the President said on Sunday, June 4.
“The hotel has to explain to us bakit walang mga exit kaagad (why the victims were unable to leave immediately). He hit in the small rooms, [the] storage [area], and in the toilets, in the comfort room, and they died of suffocation. And to think there’s only one son of a bitch running a rampage there,” Duterte also said.
A lone gunman, identified as former Department of Finance (DOF) employee Jessie Carlos, had stormed Resorts World Manila in Pasay City past midnight on Friday, June 2. Armed with an M4 automatic rifle and a bottle of gasoline, he fired shots and set gaming tables ablaze in the casino.
Police said Carlos then committed suicide in a hotel room, where his body was found around 5 hours after the attack started. A total of 37 people died, including the gunman.
A brother of one of the victims blames the lockdown ordered by Resorts World Manila. He thinks that due to the lockdown, guests and employees could not escape the smoke engulfing the casino’s second floor. This lockdown had been announced by Resorts World at 2:02 am on Friday.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) earlier said it was the zero visibility caused by the thick smoke that trapped the victims, as it was too dark for them to know where to go. A person can die of suffocation in just 5 minutes, the BFP also said.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella earlier said there could have been negligence on the part of Resorts World Manila management.
‘He lost his mind’
Duterte also reiterated that the Resorts World Manila attack was not an act of terror, saying it was the work of a deranged man. (READ: Officials contradict each other on Resorts World Manila attack)
“That guy is a habitual gambler, not even [a drug] addict, so he lost everything in his life… He lost his mind, binuhos niya ‘yung galit niya doon (he let his rage loose there),” the President said on Sunday.
“Nagnakaw siya ng (He stole casino) chips without realizing he couldn’t use it, he placed it all in his bag... Sira talaga, nag-snap (He was really crazy, he snapped).”
Duterte then expressed sadness over the incident.
“I’m sorry that it had to happen… Bakit pa nandamay ng tao (Why did he have to drag others into his mess)?” the President said. “Who would think one man could cause the death [of so many people] without really knowing it, without intending to kill people?”
Police, in an earlier press briefing on Sunday, said they have ruled out terrorism in the Resorts World Manila attack. The Islamic State (ISIS) had earlier claimed responsibility through its Amaq news agency. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Raffy Alunan on Resorts World Manila attack and terrorism) – Rappler.com