MANILA - San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora defended Wednesday law enforcers who handled a 10-hour hostage taking crisis in Greenhills Shopping Center earlier this week.
Questions were raised online as to why authorities allowed disgruntled security guard Alchie Paray, who kept at least 40 people hostage, to hold a press briefing and why the crisis was livestreamed on the mayor's social media account.
Zamora said authorities allowed Paray to voice his concerns as it was one of the agreements in the negotiation. He said the security guard had already rejected a P1 million offer by his former employer.
"The plan was to disarm him psychologically kasi pag nawala 'yung tension niya, kakalma siya. Sapagkat 'yun lang hinihingi niya eh, binigay namin," he told ANC's Early Edition.
(The plan was to disarm him psychologically because if he releases his tension, he will calm down. It was his only demand, we gave it.)
"Nung nakita niyang nakalabas na siya at buhay pa siya. Siya mismo nagsabi hindi ako makapaniwalang buhay pa ako. When he was speaking to the media, he was able to express himself. Nawala 'yung attention niya sa police, sniper, sa media nung nagsasalita siya. It gave an opening to the police to take him down."
(When he came outside and realized he was still alive, he himself said he could not believe it. When he was speaking to the media, he was able to express himself. His attention was not on the police, sniper. It gave an opening to the police to take him down.)
The media briefing went on longer than expected as authorities were still taking into account 4 grenades reported by the hostages and were waiting for an opportunity to disarm Paray, Zamora said.
The mayor, meantime, said the crisis was livestreamed on his and the police's social media account to inform Paray that they were complying with his demand of being heard by the public and his former colleagues.
"It was a controlled approach. So Archie would know na talagang naka-formation ang mga guwardiya, nandun yung media (that the guards are in formation and the media was there)," Zamora said.
"It was one way of assuring na 'yung mga hinihingi mo binibigay namin. Panahon na 'yung hinihingi namin ibigay mo na."
(It was one way of assuring him that his demands were given. It was time for him to give us what we want.)
Greenhills Mall management has agreed to change its security agency and system, Zamora said.
"It is the task of the Greenhills Mall to unearth ano ang mga issues na ito na pinagmulan ng sama ng loob ni Alchie (what issues caused Alchie's grievances)," Zamora said.
The hostage taker will be facing cases of illegal possession of explosives and firearms, frustrated murder, illegal detention, grave coercion, and grave threat, according to the mayor.