A lawmaker claimed that there was looting at Resorts World Manila after one of the fatalities lost some of her belongings, including a luxury watch in the June 2 incident.
“Who entered the premises of Resorts World first?” Representative Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur asked the police at Wednesday’s resumption of the congressional hearing on the tragedy.
“Maraming looting talaga ang nangyari,” Pimentel added, as he urged the families of victims to report if their dead relatives have lost personal items.
National Capital Region Police Office Chief Oscar Albayalde said that as a standard operating procedure, all investigators must surrender the items they have retrieved from the scene of the crime.
Rep. Reynaldo Acop of Antipolo said that the police, casino security and and Metro Manila Development Authority personnel were among the first to enter the casino premises after the incident.
According to Pimentel, Rep. Aurelio Gonzales of Pampanga told him that his wife, Elizabeth Gonzales, one of the 37 fatalities, lost a Rolex watch, jewelries and ATM and credit cards.
Three days after the incident, on June 5, Pimentel said he was informed that there was a withdrawal of P25,000 from the ATM card of Elizabeth Gonzales.
“How could that be possible? Meaning, someone used the ATM, was it used to withdraw money?” Pimentel said.
Meanwhile, David Chua Ming Huat, chairman of the board of Travellers International Hotel Group Inc., which owns Resorts World Manila, expressed his sympathies to the families of the victims of those who perished and those who were injured.
“We grieve with the affected families, let it not be forgotten that we are victims, too. This was an attack on our home and we lost people who are dear among us,” he said.
“This incident is a tragic wake-up call not just for us, but for the entire country. Now, more than ever, we need to be united so we can move forward, and work together for the common good and best interest of the Philippines, which I consider my second home,” he added.
Kingson Sian, Resorts World president, said that out of the 37 who were killed, the families of 31 victims have received P1 million in cash assistance from the company. The family of six fatalities have not claimed the money for various reasons, he said.
All families of the 35 persons hospitalized because of injury have received P500,000 each.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said that Resorts World should ensure the safety of the patrons and the security of the casino-hotel before it could resume operation.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation chairperson Andrea Domingo said that with the Resorts World’s temporary closure, the casino regulator is losing P325 million a month.
Domingo said the nearby casinos – Okada Manila, Solaire and City of Dreams — have maintained the number of their patrons.
“Hindi nadagdagan o nabawasan ang attendance sa tatlong casino. Iyong naglalaro sa Resorts World, parang hindi naglalaro ngayon,” she added.