House panels eye recommendation of charges vs Resorts World
MANILA, Philippines – The 3 House committees that probed the deadly Resorts World Manila attack will now study whether or not to recommend the filing of charges against hotel-casino management following the attack of a lone gunman that left 38 people dead.
The committees on games and amusements, public order and safety, and tourism ended its probe into the attack after holding a 3rd and final hearing on Wednesday, June 21. The first two hearings were held on June 8 and 14. (READ: 3 questions answered at House probe into Resorts World attack)
Last June 2, lone gunman Jessie Carlos slipped through hotel security, fired gunshots, and set casino tables on fire in what police described as a botched robbery attempt. Most of the 37 victims died due to suffocation, while Carlos killed himself inside a hotel room after a quick shootout with security forces, said police.
During the House investigation, Resorts World Manila chief operating officer Stephen Reilly admitted they had lapses in their security. This allowed Carlos, a former Department of Finance tax specialist deep in debt due to gambling, to enter the premises armed with an M4 assault rifle and gasoline.
Hotel security personnel who were supposed to man the closed-circuit television (CCTV) rooms also left their posts just 13 minutes after Carlos began the attack, leaving the authorities blind to the precise location of the gunman. (READ: More security lapses uncovered as House probes Resorts World attack)
Resorts World Manila security chief Armeen Gomez, who was grilled by lawmakers over his lack of a college degree, revealed he was using a fake name. Hotel management said they recently discovered this and have already ordered Gomez to explain why.
The hotel management also previously promised to pay P1 million to each of the 37 victims' families, and to shoulder the education of the victims' children until college. The injured, meanwhile, were given P500,000 each.
Asked if the House would recommend the filing of charges against the Resorts World Manila management, games and amusements committee chairperson Gustavo Tambunting said, "That's being studied."
"Be rest assured if needed, we will do it. But right now, we're taking a close look and it is with our legal researchers," he added.
On Wednesday, Surigao del Sur 2nd District Representative Johnny Pimentel said he had received reports that valuables were allegedly stolen from the victims, including the late wife of Pampanga 3rd District Representative Aurelio Gonzales Jr.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) is now studying new policies to implement to avoid more instances of gambling addiction, with a report set to be given to lawmakers by next week. (READ: Isabela lawmaker admits to gambling, defends politicians in casinos)
The Bureau of Fire Protection also wants "joint tactical training" for firefighters and cops as well as a new handbook to handle "complex situations" following the Resorts World Manila attack.
Tambunting said the 3 House panels are planning to finish drafting their committee report consolidating the probe's findings and recommendations by next week. – Rappler.com
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