MANILA - Malacanang on Friday emphasized that the incident in Resorts World Manila in Pasay City was not terror-related, even as reports showed a terrorist group already claimed responsibility for the attack.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, citing information from law enforcement agencies, said there were no indications that what took place in Resorts World Manila was a “terroristic activity.”
Abella said the “emotionally disturbed” perpetrator did not carry out a terror attack and that there were no indications that he wanted to harm or shoot anyone.
At least 36 bodies were found in two floors of the casino complex, following an attack by a supposedly lone heavily-armed suspect, who later committed suicide. The suspect was stil unidentified.
Most of them suffocated due to the thick smoke from the burning casino tables torched by the suspect, authorities said.
At least 54 others were brought to nearby hospitals after sustaining injuries, officials said.
The presidential spokesperson also dismissed insinuations that the attack was linked to the ongoing crisis in Marawi City, where the Maute Group, which has pledged allegiance but has yet to get recognition from Islamic State, led a siege.
Abella also noted that apart from the attacker who set himself on fire, only one other individual - a security guard - sustained a gunshot wound after accidentally shooting himself.