TRAVELLERS International Hotel Group, owner of Resorts World Manila, could face civil and criminal charges following the tragic attack that killed 38 people including the lone gunman, the head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said.
Speaking to reporters in Pasay City on Saturday night, NCRPO chief Oscar Albayalde said the Resorts World Manila faced at least the payment of damages to victims arising from civil liability.
“Yes of course. With 37 casualties, there could be civil liability on the part of the Resorts World,” Albayalde said in a news conference.
The filing of criminal cases against the hotel-casino operator depends on the relatives of the victims, he said.
“If they would be filing the case against the management of the Resorts World, we would be glad to help,” Albayalde said.
At midnight on Friday, a lone gunman barged into the Resorts World casino area and set ablaze gaming tables. He then went to the storage room to steal casino chips worth at least P113 million.
He was found by casino security and police dead inside a room at the fifth floor of Maxims Hotel just before dawn.
On Sunday, police identified the gunman as Jessie Javier Carlos, 42, a former employee of the Department of Finance.
President Rodrigo Duterte visited the wake of the victims of the attack in Pasay City on Saturday, assuring the families that justice would be served.
The President arrived at 11:10 p.m. at Veronica Memorial Chapel, where he visited the wake of the Taiwanese victims Hing Tung Tsung, Lai Wei-Chung, and Lai Yu-Chieh; and a Filipino, Carmelita de la Cruz.
The representative of Taiwan to the Philippines, Gary Song-Huann Lin, was at also at Veronica to meet with the families of his deceased compatriots and with the President.
Catalino Cuy, officer in charge of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, said Duterte had asked relatives of the victims to let him know how the government could be of assistance.
Cuy said the families of the Taiwanese victims were planning to have the remains cremated and brought to Taiwan on Monday.
The government will help process papers such as death certificates for the transport of the remains, he said.
Duterte also visited the wake of Eleuterio Reyes, husband of former actress Azenith Briones, at nearby Rizal Funeral Homes.
In an interview, Briones said the President vowed justice for her husband.
“Tinanong ko, in case po kailangan namin ng tulong, makakalapit ba kami. Sabi niya sinisigurado niya, we will make sure na magkaroon ng justice… sa pagkamatay ng lahat ng victims [I asked the President, in case we need help can we ask for their assistance? He gave me his assurance that he would make sure there would be justice…for the deaths of all the victims],” she said.
From Pasay, the President proceeded to Heritage Park in Taguig to visit the wake of Elizabeth Panlilio Gonzales, wife of Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr.
In a speech in Cagayan de Oro City before flying to Manila, Duterte said the attack was the work of a “crazy man” and not the terrorist group Islamic State.
“Why would he steal plastic (chips) he knows he can’t use? That is crazy. He didn’t want to kill,” Duterte said.
Atienza: Suspend license
On Sunday, Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay party-list Rep. Jose Atienza urged the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to immediately suspend, and if warranted, cancel the permit to operate of Resorts World Manila for its failure to save the lives of its clients and employees, pending the results of a police investigation.
“The local government should also suspend the operation of the entire facility until they have complete results of the investigation like whether the emergency fire sprinklers worked and activated when the fire broke out,” he said in a statement.
The lawmaker called on the congressional committees on games and amusements, legislative franchises and good government, and public order and safety to investigate the incident and determine culpability.
Atienza pointed out that casino security were “very strict and even rude” to ordinary casino-goers, “but when it came to this lone gunman, they were the first to flee.”
“Why was the panic not controlled by the management and security personnel? This seems to point to possible neglect of duty and they should not be allowed to conduct operations,” he said.