MANILA- "Grief, sadness and anger continue to torment me. The pain of loss is unexplainable. It is a torture every time I remember that tragic night."
These were the words of Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales on the death of his wife Elizabeth during the Resorts World Manila attack last June 2.
Elizabeth was among the 37 fatalities of the chilling casino attack.
Gonzales, an assistant majority leader of the House, made the statement during the hearing of the House Committee on Banks on the problems that affected BPI and BDO depositors recently.
He echoed the sentiments of his colleagues that had the victims been rescued in time, they would not have died. The lawmaker recalled that his wife's body was still warm when he saw her inside a body bag.
As assistant majority leader, Gonzales gets to sit as an ex officio member of all congressional committees. However, he decided to skip the congressional probe on the Resorts World Manila attack.
"Much as I want to participate in the hearings, I have decided, after consulting with my children, to voluntarily inhibit myself from the committee probes and trust the same to the right people," he said.
"I am entrusting my faith and confidence to the House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Chairman Romeo Acop, Chairman Gus Tambunting, Chairman Lucy Gomez and rest of the members of the aforementioned committees," he added.
Gonzales also thanked President Rodrigo Duterte, his fellow lawmakers and government officials for mourning with him.
He also extended his sympathies to the families of the other victims.
"I am also extending my heartfelt condolence and sympathy to the families who have lost their loved ones during the tragedy. I continue to pray for the full recovery of those who were injured and for the healing of us bereaved family. It is for this reason that I am one with you all in wanting these hearings to be fruitful so that this kind of incident will no longer be repeated," he said.
Gonzales however took the opportunity to speak about the loss of his wife's belongings and an apparent unauthorized withrdawal from her bank acccount after her death.
Gonzales revealed that some P20,000 was withdrawn from his wife's RCBC account on June 5 in 3 separate transactions.
"I went to RCBC to collate all the bank accounts of my wife. Namatay siya ng June 2nd, nakapag-ATM ng June 5," he said.
Based on records provided by Gonzales to the media, P10,000 was withdrawn on June 5 at 6:16 p.m., another P10,000 at 6:15 p.m. and P500 at 6:16 p.m.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas told Gonzales that they will look into the matter.