MANILA - San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora on Tuesday said the man who held at least 40 people hostage for 10 hours at the Greenhills Shopping Center rejected a P1 million offer of his security agency as he wanted only to air his grievances.
Zamora said Alchie Paray never asked for money in exchange for the release of the hostages on Monday.
"Ang demands, napakasimple lang. Hindi naman siya humingi ng pera. Yung security agency was offering P1-million, pero hindi niya tinanggap kasi hindi pera kailangan niya. Ang kailangan niya, marinig lang yung hinaing kaya ibigay natin," Zamora said.
(His demands were simple. He didn’t ask for money. The security agency was offering P1-million but he did not accept it because that is not what he wanted. He just wanted to be heard.)
Among Paray's demands was to address the media to air his grievances, and for seven of his security officers to make a public apology. He also wanted four of them to resign.
In defending the hostage-taker's move to hold a press conference, Zamora explained Paray agreed to let go of his hostages if he was allowed to talk to media and if the mayor could guarantee his safety.
"Dalawa lang hiningi niya at dalawa lang assurance na ibinigay ko... makakalabas nang ligtas at makakapagsalita siya," Zamora said.
(He asked for two things only, and I assured him of two things - he will come out safe and he could speak.)
"Hinayaan natin siyang magsalita. For me, as a psychology graduate, psychologically na-disarm ko na siya because ipinakita ko sa kaniya (na) yung pangako ko sa iyo, ginawa ko na."
(We allowed him to talk. For me, as a psychology graduate, I was able to psychologically disarm him because I was able to show him that I kept my promise.)
Zamora said it was their call and their decision to let Paray speak to the press as it actually helped him calm down.
"Hihinahon ito, hayaan mo lang ilahad mga sama ng loob niya. Sampung oras na yan. Gutom na yan, pagod na yan. Ang isip niyan, hindi na nasa tama. Pero nung nakapagsalita siya (about) what was he complaining about from the start? He was never listened to."
(He is going to calm down; just let him air his grievances. It's been 10 hours already. He’s hungry and tired already. And he's not in his right mind already. But when he was able to speak (about) what was he complaining about from the start? He was never listened to.)
If, at that point, the authorities did not give in to Paray's demand to talk, he may have resorted to blowing up the area, Zamora said.
Aside from a gun and fully loaded magazines, Paray was also carrying a grenade during the hostage-taking crisis.
Both the local government and the police said the crisis was resolved peacefully with the arrest of the suspect and the safe release of all hostages.