MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said it suspects that possible negligence by Resorts World Manila led to the shooting incident that killed 37 people and injured 54 others in the posh casino hotel.
In an interview with state-run dzRB on Saturday, June 3, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Palace shares this view with Duterte ally Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.
"While tightening anti-terror measures, we share the Senate President's concern of a possible negligence by Resorts World not only in casino security, but also in building design and safety protocols," Abella said.
He added that as gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) "will do a full audit of all casinos."
"On the security lapses of Resorts World Manila, let us allow authorities to finish the investigation, and we'll begin to look into the security breach of Resorts World Manila. Once the investigation is completed, they will submit their findings and recommendations," the presidential spokesman said.
Abella made his remarks not long after a lone gunman opened fire and burned part of the Resorts World Manila casino – an act claimed by the terrorist Islamic State (ISIS), but dismissed by the Philippine National Police as a case of robbery.
On ISIS' claim that their "fighters" launched the Resorts World Manila attack, Abella said, "They may claim credit but according to our evidence, it is not so."
At the same time, Abella urged "the police, the media, and the public to please avoid speculations."
Official sources have contradicted each other, however, since the shooting incident broke out on Friday.
Authorities themselves have even fueled speculations about the gunman's motive, with investigators citing an unconfirmed report that the suspect lost as much as P100 million* ($2.02 million) from gambling. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P49.38
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.