The operators of Resorts World Manila (RWM) are being accused of failing to employ appropriate security measures at the casino’s entrance during a fatal attack on June 2.
Speaking at a House of Representatives inquiry, Chairman and CEO of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), Andrea Domingo slammed the security system at the gambling resort.
“From our assessment, there was a real 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,” Domingo said, cited by the Philippines Inquirer. “Even inside the elevator, this person [the attacker] is already putting on his mask, already putting on his bonnet. And they were able to monitor that. I think there are no ifs and buts about it. The hotel’s security is really lacking.”
Thirty-seven patrons and employees died during the attack. Most of the casualties were due to smoke inhalation when the victims were hiding in one of the casino’s VIP rooms on the second floor. The attacker was a heavily indebted Filipino gambling addict who set fire to gaming tables in an attempt to steal money from the casino, according to police. His name was Jessie Carlos — a married father of three and former Finance Department employee who owed more than USD80,000 — and he was later found dead on the fifth floor of a hotel connected to the complex. According to the police, he shot himself after having set fire to the empty room he had burst into.
The RWM management seems to have different views on the attack. The resort’s chief operating officer, Stephen Reilly, admitted shortcomings. “I say there’s lapses in security. When we played the first videos, I pointed out there should have been security personnel posted at certain points and they were not present,” he said.
RWM president Kingson Sian directed focus elsewhere, pointing out that 12,100 guests were evacuated successfully. Sian said that heat and smoke from the burning gaming tables had caused CCTV cameras to fail, making it impossible to locate the victims. Sian said that many of those who passed away “hid in a very small pantry” and died from suffocation and smoke inhalation while hiding from the gunman.
According to the inquiry, Carlos entered the resort after overpowering a lone female security guard, who was working for RWM’s security agency, NC Lanting Security Specialist Agency.