House probe on Resorts World Manila attack reveals more security lapses

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2017 07:04 PM

Police on guard at Resorts World Manila in Pasay City on Friday, June 2, 2017. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- A joint investigation of the House Committees on Public Order and Safety, Games and Amusement, and Tourism on Wednesday exposed even more lapses in the response of Resorts World Manila (RWM) personnel to the chilling lone wolf attack at the entertainment and gaming complex on June 2.

This time, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas pointed out that Resorts World failed to quickly calibrate its response even after it was established early on that gunman Jessie Carlos was acting on his own.

RWM Security Chief Armeen Gomez, however, pointed out that they had received initial information suggesting that Carlos, a gambler deep in debt, was not alone. He also cited a Youtube video that was later proven to be not from RWM.

CCTV FOOTAGE

Fariñas ordered the presentation of CCTV (closed-circuit television) footage of the incident from the casino management. RWM had partially complied with the order to submit its security footage from May 31 to June 3, the week of the attack. 

The casino only submitted footage covering the period of 8 p.m. of June 1, the eve of the attack, until noon of June 2. 

Stephen Reilly, RWM chief operating officer , explained that transferring the rest of the footage would take 33 days, citing the security and technology of the video. He said the footage had been sourced from 3,100 CCTV cameras at the complex.

RWM President Kingson Sian played CCTV footage of Carlos entering the casino, with audio from the security camera by the cashier.

Footage also showed the VIP salon where some of the victims hid, but smoke covered them from the camera.

Fariñas pointed out that, based on the video, the sprinklers did not work. Sian however argued that the sprinklers would only work when the heat in the room reached a certain temperature.

Officer Jeffrey Malinao of Lanting Security, among RWM's security contractors, meanwhile insisted that they had a shootout with the assailant at the loading dock.

Fariñas also noted that police failed to hold people evacuating from the casino amid all the chaos, depriving response teams of intelligence information that they could have used in the response. 

The lawmaker said that if the 2nd floor had been cleared immediately, there would have been no fatalities.

CCTV Monitoring personnel Magelyn Domondon admitted that they did evacuate from their positions around 12:18 a.m.

Upon questioning by Kabayan Party List Rep. Harry Roque, National Capital Regional Police Office Chief Oscar Albayalde maintained that the police were effectively blind in pinpointing Carlos' location at the time of the response despite security cameras all around the complex. 

Albayalde said police found the CCTV rooms abandoned.

Reilly, however, maintained that at no point were all the CCTV monitors abandoned simultaneously.

A total of 37 guests and employees died when a rifle-wielding Carlos attacked the gaming complex, torching casino tables and stealing casino chips. He later committed suicide.