San Juan to probe ‘corruption’ allegations raised during Greenhills hostage incident

Rambo Talabong
San Juan to probe ‘corruption’ allegations raised during Greenhills hostage incident
'Kailangan nating mag-imbistiga. Bagamat ito ay isang bagay na pribado, kailangang mangialam ang lungsod dito,' says San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora

MANILA, Philippines – San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora vowed to probe the alleged corruption that led to a fired mall security guard’s taking hostage some 30 people in the city’s Greenhills Shopping Center.

Speaking to reporters late night on Monday, March 2, Zamora said the city would look into the allegations of corruption by the Greenhills security personnel raised by now-arrested hostage taker Alchie Paray.

Kailangan nating mag-imbistiga. Bagamat ito ay isang bagay na pribado, kailangang mangialam ang lungsod dito (We need to investigate. While this is a private matter, the city has to intervene in this),” Zamora said just hours after the gripping hostage taking that lasted around 9 hours.

What allegations? The hostage taker, the 40-year-old Paray,  was a former security guard who was fired by his security agency, Safeguard Armor Security Corporation (SASCOR) for allegedly going on absence without leave for weeks.

One of Paray’s demands was to speak with fellow guards and the media. In his phone conversation with reporters, as well as his impromptu press conference after his surrender, he alleged that corruption was widespread in Greenhills, particularly with guards accepting money from tenants in exchange for lax enforcement of the mall’s rules.

Paray also accused his bosses from SASCOR and Greenhills of unfair treatment of guards and abuse of power by “rotating” them, or changing their assignments to less desirable locations.

What can the city do? San Juan City can work directly with the companies by demanding and assisting an investigation on the alleged corruption. If laws and ordinances were violated, the local government unit could ask the police to step in.

It is the Philippines National Police (PNP), through its Supervisory Office on Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA), which accredits all private guards under security companies.

As for the labor issues, Zamora can reach out to the Department of Labor and Employment and labor groups who have dealt with work disputes. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.