The Daily Manila Shimbun


Resorts World Manila’s security found wanting, House hearing reveals

June 7, 2017

Having only one security guard during the graveyard shift and lack of an effective evacuation plan when one gunman barged into the casino of Resorts World Manila on Friday were hurled by congressmen during a public hearing on Wednesday. “There was one malefactor and you felt it was a superior force against your 200 (security personnel)?”, asked Ilocos Norte Rep. Rudy Farinas, the House Minority Leader, to Resorts World Manila’s head of security. Farinas said the lone security guard was a woman and unarmed during that time. “Only one was on duty. How can he possibly enforce security?  Mr. Gomez (Armeen Gomez, chief of the RW Hotel safety security and surveillance office), there is only ne security (guard), a woman who didn’t have a gun,” said Fariñas. The gunman, said to have been heavily in debt, shot at the casino’s LED display, sent the baccarat tables on fire and shot at the room containing gambling chips. Even as at least a thousand guests were evacuated, 37 persons suffocated to death while the gunman later killed himself The gunman’s name was Jessie Carlos, a former employee of the Department of Finance, police confirmed on Wednesday. Fariñas said one security personnel was seen on closed circuit television running away as the gunman approached. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez threatened to revoke the franchise to operate of Resorts World Manila. Alvarez made this statement after Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chairperson Andrea Domingo accused its management during the House probe on the tragedy of failing to implement her advisory to strengthen security measures following the Maute Group attack in Marawi City on May 23. Domingo said RW Manila allegedly failed to secure the place from the lone gunman. “From our assessment, there was really lack of security at the entrance and parking lots of Resorts World Manila because there’s hardly any presence in the area of adequate and competent and properly equipped personnel,” said Domingo. “Even inside the elevator, this person is already putting his mask, already putting his bonnet. And they were able to monitor that. I think there are no ifs and buts about it,”  Domingo said. Nimfa Lanting, the general manager and owner of Resorts World Manila’s security agency NC Lanting Security Specialist Agency, explained their contract of service with the RW Manila calls for one security guard during the graveyard shift. RW Manila President Kingson Sian said RW hotels sprinklers worked. He said there were enough fire exits, 13 on the second floor where nine can be found in the gaming area. He said there was an “orderly evacuation” of an estimated 12,100 guests and employees. Sian said the CCTV cameras of the casino began to fail 30 minutes after the fire because of heat and fumes. Fariñas is considering filing a law removing the power of Pagcor to issue licenses to casinos and transfer this to the House of Representatives. “Under the leadership of the Speaker [Pantaleon Alvarez], we will review Republic Act (RA) [Number] 9487 with the view of amending it and repealing altogether Presidential Decree (PD) Number 1869,” said Fariñas. “You know gambling is prohibited in the country, but by a presidential decree. The power was delegated to Pagcor to have the sole authority to authorize, license, regulate gambling. That should not be allowed. That should only be a congressional grant of franchise,” Fariñas added. DMS