House holds final hearing on Resorts World attack

Mara Cepeda
House holds final hearing on Resorts World attack

LeAnne Jazul

David Chua, chairman of Travellers International Hotel Group that owns and operates Resorts World, has been subpoenaed to appear on Wednesday, June 21

MANILA, Philippines – The House on Wednesday, June 21, will hold its 3rd and last hearing on the Resorts World Manila attack that killed 38 people, including the lone gunman Jessie Carlos.

The committees on games and amusements, public order and safety, and tourism have been investigating how Carlos managed to fire shots and set tables ablaze inside the hotel-casino on June 2. (READ: 3 questions answered at House probe into Resorts World attack)

Parañaque Representative Gustavo Tambunting, who chairs the games and amusements panel, said lawmakers plan to ask pending questions to Travellers International Hotel Group Incorporated chairman David Chua, whose company is the owner and operator of Resorts World. He has been subpoenaed to appear at Wednesday’s hearing.

“On my part, I would like to ask Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) what it is doing to improve security in casinos. We also want to find out how [the] government can deal with the problem of gaming addiction, as the perpetrator of this incident was a gaming addict,” Tambunting told Rappler in a text message. 

Lone gunman Carlos was a former finance department tax specialist who was deep in debt due to gambling. The police have tagged his attack as a botched robbery attempt. (READ: ‘300 rounds’ of gunfire during Resorts World attack)

In the past House hearings, lawmakers were able to make Resorts World chief operating officer Stephen Reilly to admit they had “lapses” in their security. (READ: More security lapses uncovered as House probes Resorts World attack

One of the victims was the wife of Pampanga 3rd District Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr, Elizabeth Panlilio-Gonzales.

Resorts World Manila security personnel also admitted they vacated the two CCTV surveillance rooms inside the hotel-casino by 12:20 am, just 13 minutes after the attack began. This meant that both the police and hotel security did not have a proper guide to determine Carlos’ exact location during the height of the attack.

A “misencounter” also occurred between a team of police officers and hotel security guard Bernard Cajigas, who was mistaken for a gunman because he was wearing civilian clothes as he helped in the search operations. 

The Resorts World management has since promised to give financial support to both the victims’ families and those injured, including funding the education of the victims’ children until college. – 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.