A lady guard from Resorts World Manila
Resorts World Manila has terminated the services of its current security agency and employed a Hongkong-based firm that would evaluate its system and recommend improvements, an executive said.
Appearing at the resumption of the House of Representatives’ inquiry on the June 2 attack on Wednesday, June 14, Stephen Reilly, chief operating officer, said NC Lanting Security was no longer employed by Resorts World.
Reilly made the disclosure in response to a question by Representative Cristina “Chiqui” Roa of Antipolo City on what measures Resorts World have taken to avoid a repeat of the incident that claimed the lives of 38 people, including gunman Jessie Carlos.
Reilly identified the Hongkong-based firm as the Black Panda.
In a televised broadcast of the hearing, House investigators grilled NC Lanting, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Resorts World over “security lapses” that led to the death of 37 guests and employees.
Carlos shot and then burned himself to death in one of the rooms of an adjoining hotel.
The inquiry began with the presentation of a CCTV video by Resorts World showing one of the casino tables that Carlos set fire to, of people running after hearing gunshots, of Carlos himself, and a blank frame that hotel officials had blocked due to the “sensitive” nature of the image.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas fired the first volley of questions, which focused mainly on the response of the security guards to Carlos’ rampage.
When asked how many security personnel were present at the time of the incident, the NC Lanting security agency said it had 64.
Of the total, the security firm said 30 of its personnel had firearms with six carrying AKs, two with M4s and two with shotguns.
Fariñas said, however, that based on the video, none of the armed guards engaged the gunman.
Asked whether the security personnel detailed inside the casino area were informed that Carlos was headed towards them, Mary Grace Rayala, the lady guard who first met Carlos as he got off the cab on the floor leading to the casino area, said she had radioed her colleagues.
“I informed others over the radio that an armed gunman was heading in the direction of the casino,” said Rayala in her testimony before the House.
Other lawmakers grilled PNP officials on their own response to the situation.
NCRPO Chief Oscar Albayalde said that when his men arrived on the scene, they found the CCTV rooms “abandoned” and, as a result, were forced to review footages that were no longer in real time.
Albayalde cited that the information that police received about the gunman being on the fifth floor was no longer the actual time that he was there.
He said this was why one of the Resorts World staff had to be called by police to help them identify the gunman’s room.
Albayalde said a second CCTV room was offered to the police “very late” and only “when the PNP chief had arrived.”
Reilly disputed Albayalde’s claims, saying: “At no time were any of the CCTV rooms abandoned.”
He said that a secondary CCTV room at the nearby Remington Hotel was manned “24/7”.
“We had our eyes on the suspect all the time” said Reilly.
“The information was relayed to security and to senior officers of responding governing bodies,” he said.