Dela Rosa slammed over 'premature' info on Resorts World deaths

MANILA, Philippines – House games and amusements committee chairperson Gustavo Tambunting slammed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa for initially telling the public there was only one casualty during the first few hours after the Resorts World Manila attack.

Tambunting called out Dela Rosa as the House games and amusements, public order and safety, and tourism panels resumed their probe into the attack that left 38 people dead, including lone gunman Jessie Carlos.

During the hearing on Wednesday, June 14, Tambunting recalled Dela Rosa said in a chance interview at around 8 am on June 2 that nobody was taken hostage or seriously injured at the hotel-casino. Dela Rosa also said Carlos committed suicide.

The police chief then left the crime scene and went to Camp Crame, the headquarters of the PNP.

Three hours after Dela Rosa's interview, however, National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde said they discovered 38 bodies inside Resorts World Manila, including the gunman. (READ: TIMELINE: Resorts World Manila attack

"'Di po ba dapat bago tayo magbitaw eh beripikado at sigurado po natin? Kasi ho marami hong medyo na ang feedback eh wala namang namatay. Natulog lang sila sandali, 37 [others] na namatay kasi naniwala nga sila sa sinabi 'nyo na walang casualty except the gunman," the Parañaque 2nd District representative told Dela Rosa.

(Shouldn't you have verified the information before releasing it to the public? Because a lot of people received the feedback that nobody died. They just slept for a while, then they were surprised to know 37 others already died. They believed you when you said there were no other casualties except the gunman.)

Dela Rosa, however, said he was not lying to the public during the interview. The PNP chief explained that only Carlos' body had been found at the time.

"Before I left, I was asked by the media kung ilan 'yung casualty. So far, we determined isa lang, 'yung gunman na nasunog doon sa room 510 on the 5th floor of Maxims Hotel, your honor. Lately lang na-discover 'yung 37 others who died due to suffocation, umaga na, your honor, [at nandoon] na 'ko sa Crame so 'di ko na nalaman," said Dela Rosa.

(Before I left, I was asked by the media how many casualties there were. So far, we determined just one, the gunman who burned himself in room 510 on the 5th floor of Maxims Hotel, your honor. We only discovered the 37 others who died due to suffocation later in the morning, when I was already at Camp Crame. That's why I didn't know immediately.)

"So no'ng tinanong ako kung ano 'yung patay, I wasn't lying kasi isa pa lang naman talaga nakikita namin. Gano'n ako ka-convinced nagsabi kasi 'yun lang ang obtained from the ground na information," he added.

(So when I was asked how many died, I wasn't lying because we had only discovered one, so far. I was convinced when I said that because that was the only information we had obtained from the ground.)

During the same hearing, Resorts World Manila president Kingson Sian said Carlos tricked the victims into thinking there was more than one gunman by placing a bag of bullets on top of a burning casino table. The heat made the bullets explode on their own in an estimated 300 rounds. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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