Police, casino guard had ‘misencounter’ during Resorts World attack

Mara Cepeda

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Police, casino guard had ‘misencounter’ during Resorts World attack
Resorts World Manila COO Stephen Reilly says this shows 'there [was] a degree of confusion' among security forces on the ground during the attack

MANILA, Philippines – A Resorts World Manila security guard was shot on the right hip by the police in a “misencounter” during the deadly attack on the hotel-casino.

This was revealed on Wednesday, June 14, during 3 House committees’ joint probe into the shooting and arson attack of lone gunman Jessie Carlos at the posh Resorts World Manila last June 2. (READ: Dela Rosa slammed over ‘premature’ info on Resorts World deaths)

“Nagkagulatan po sila, your honor. Nagkasalubong, nagkagulatan,” said Resorts World Manila chief legal officer Georgina Alvarez as she showed CCTV footage of security guard Bernard Cajigas searching for Carlos in one of the corridors near a fire exit of the hotel-casino. 

(They were both surprised, your honor. They came across each other in the hallway and were taken by surprise.)

Cajigas was wearing civilian clothes at the time. He was with two policemen, but they were hidden from view.

Chief Superintendent Freddie Mercado said his team of policemen, all wearing black tactical clothing, bumped into Cajigas in the hallway. They tried to verify if Cajigas was part of the police or hotel security, but received no answer. 

“[Nagsasabi ng], ‘Tropa? Tropa?’ kami to make sure na walang crossfire between the same forces (We were asking ‘Are you one of the troops?’ to make sure there wouldn’t be any crossfire between the same forces),” said Mercado, but he added Cajigas did not reply.

This was when the “misencounter” happened, said the policeman.

“Doon nagkaroon ng misencounter. Nagkaputukan and then he ran off. Then after, sir, ‘di naman sila nag-appear, sir. Tumakbo lahat,” narrated Mercado.

(That’s when the misencounter happened. We shot at each other and then he ran off. Then after that, sir, they did not show themselves to us. They all ran away.)

In the video, Cajigas can be seen getting hit on the right hip before falling on the stairs. His wound, fortunately, was not fatal.

He later gave a testimony before the Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies that he was hit by the gunman, but the video proves otherwise.

Resorts World Manila chief operating officer Stephen Reilly told lawmakers this proves there was confusion among the security forces on the ground. He earlier admitted that the hotel-casino had “lapses in security,” allowing Carlos to attack the premises.

“I think it does show there [was] a degree of confusion between the groups on the ground, the communication between the troops on the ground,” said Reilly.

Carlos shot rounds of bullets and set casino tables on fire inside Resorts World Manila in what police are tagging as a botched robbery attempt. He used to be a tax specialist from the Department of Finance, but was deep in debt due to gambling. (READ: ‘300 rounds’ of gunfire during Resorts World attack)

Carlos shot and burned himself in a hotel room a few hours after the attack, which left 37 people dead– 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.