THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has ordered a probe into the lone-wolf attack at Resorts World Manila that left even the PNP chief, Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, confounded.
De la Rosa, on Friday morning, at first said police killed the “Caucasian-looking” assailant on the fifth floor of a hotel at the Resorts World Manila complex in Pasay City, only to clarify later that the gunman killed himself.
“Operating troops killed [the suspect]within the 5th floor. He fought with the police since he is armed,” de la Rosa said in an interview with a television morning show.
Later, he said: “Patay na [He’s dead]. He was found by our men lying in bed in a room full of smoke.”
Also earlier on Friday, police said no casualties were recorded. Past 10 a.m., however, the Bureau of Fire Protection said 36 bodies were found on the second floor of the casino, catching members of the Southern Police District by surprise.
Even US President Donald Trump was misinformed, and branded the Resorts World incident a “terrorist attack” during remarks at the White House.
The SITE Intelligence Group that monitors terror organizations also claimed “lone-wolf” gunmen connected with the Islamic State carried out the attack, prompting angry denials from authorities.
Policemen who responded to the incident also at first reported that there were no civilian casualties.
However, fire officers at the scene later retrieved dozens of bodies and these were taken to funeral parlors.
Casino security to be summoned
Chief Supt. Jose Espino, head of the PNP Supervisory Office of Security and Investigation Agencies, told reporters in Camp Crame he had asked the management of Resorts World Manila and its security team to a meeting next week.
“We will summon the management and the security guards [of Resorts World Manila]…on duty at the time of the incident on how this lone gunman was able to enter the establishment armed with a rifle,” he said.
The security agency faces a fine of at least P50,000 and the cancellation of its license, if found negligent, Espino said.
“We will be looking into the lapses in the implementation of security measures, and if there [are]grave [offenses], an appropriate penalty might be applied,” he said.
The security agency handling Resorts World Manila is required to submit an initial report within 24 hours.
Authorities however were adamant the incident was not an act of terrorism or even linked to the Islamic State, as earlier claimed by the SITE Intelligence Group.
“Let us not be scared off by alleged terrorists taking over, they will win if we will let ourselves be frightened. Once the public is scared, we will lose,” de la Rosa said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines echoed the police.
“The Armed Forces conveys its assurance to the public that the Resorts World incident did not indicate [any]terrorist activity,” military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. told Palace reporters.
In a statement Friday afternoon, Resorts World Manila said its security teams were able to shoot and wound the gunman before he killed himself in a hotel room.
It also denied claims two gunmen entered the establishment.
“[We] would like to take this opportunity to refute claims circulating online that there were two assailants involved in the incident. We reiterate that there was only one gunman involved in this senseless attacks,” the statement read.