CCTV monitoring team, funeral homes reps invited to Resorts World probe
MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers on Wednesday, June 14, will continue investigating the attack of lone gunman Jessie Carlos on the posh Resorts World Manila, causing the deaths of 38 people, including himself.
The House committees on games and amusements, public order and safety, and tourism will hold the second day of their joint probe in the Belmonte Hall of the House of Representatives at 9 am. (READ: 3 questions answered at House probe into Resorts World attack)
Among those invited to appear before the House committees are the Resorts World security personnel who were supposed to man the hotel-casino's CCTV video feed.
During the first hearing on June 7, lawmakers discovered the surveillance room was vacated by hotel security just a few minutes after Carlos started shooting and set casino tables ablaze on June 2.
A lone police officer ended up viewing the feed from this surveillance room, but he was naturally unaware of the precise location of the areas he was viewing on camera.
The security personnel transferred to their secondary CCTV room at the Remington Hotel, but management failed tell the police about this, and the latter did not ask them either. (READ: Resorts World Manila COO admits 'lapses in security' during attack)
The committee already requested the Resorts World management to give them the complete CCTV footage from May 31 to June 3. (READ: Lawmakers grill Resorts World security chief over college degree)
Also invited to the hearing are representatives of the funeral homes where the victims were brought – Remedios Espiridion for Veronica Memorial Chapels and Rodelio Hilario of Rizal Funeral Homes.
Hours after the attack, victims' relatives said they were pressured by the funeral homes to agree to subject their dead to an autopsy, or the bodies would not be released. Other relatives claimed the funeral homes refused to conduct an autopsy unless they agreed to purchase the caskets from them or pay for caskets they did not like.
The House committees also invited top officials involved in the investigation, including the following:
- Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa
- National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde
- Southern Police District Director Chief Superintendent Tomas Apolinario
- Bureau of Fire Protection chief Bobby Baruelo
- Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) Chairperson Andrea Domingo
- Philippine Economic Zone Authority Director General Charito Plaza
- Resorts World Manila president Kingson Sian
- Resorts World Manila chief operating officer Stephen Reilly
Findings from the 1st hearing
According to games and amusements committee vice chairperson Sherwin Tugna, the probe will help the committees determine what laws to amend or propose to avoid a similar attack from happening.
"The incident encompasses and affects a broad spectrum of issues. Effect of gambling on individuals who lose and are heavily indebted, safety of gaming and gambling facilities, looming possibility of terrorism and the incident's effect on our tourism," said the CIBAC representative.
During the last hearing, Sian and Reilly admitted lapses in their security, which allowed Carlos to attack Resorts World.
They said the victims, including the wife of Pampanga 3rd District Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr, died of suffocation in the hotel-casino's rooms because they were afraid to be caught in the gunfight.
Resorts World management promised to give financial support to both the victims' families and those injured, including funding for the education of the victims’ children until college. (READ: Resorts World Manila to give victims' families P1M each)
House leaders will also file a bill transferring to the House the power of Pagcor to grant licenses to casinos. – Rappler.com
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