MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre on Sunday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct case buildup of the attack at the Resorts World Manila in Pasay City that killed 38 individuals, including the gunman himself, early on Friday.
Aguirre signed Department Order No. 354 dated June 4, 2017 instructing the NBI to conduct an investigation to determine and provide answers to the following:
Whether there is criminal, civil, administrative culpability of any agency, office and instrumentality of the government; and whether there is criminal, civil, administrative culpability of the owners, managers and employees of Resorts World Manila.
“We need to know and to determine the responsibility and the liability, if any, of anyone which made possible the tragic events at Resorts World Manila. Whoever is responsible for allowing this tragedy to occur should be made accountable under our laws and before our courts,” Aguirre said in a statement sent to reporters.
“We will be remiss in our duties if we fail to do so. The Filipino people, the families of the victims and the memories of the innocent victims and tragedies like these should not be allowed to happen again,” the DoJ chief said.
“The ultimate goal is to file appropriate charges, if any, as the evidence may warrant,” he added.
In a press conference at the Remington Hotel at New Port City, Pasay City on Sunday, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde identified the gunman as Jessie Carlos, Filipino, 42, separated, and a former employee of the Department of Finance.
The suspect’s last known address is at 1663 Felix Huertas St. corner San Lazaro, Barangay 339, Zone 34, Sta. Cruz, Manila.
Carlos was dismissed from the service for issues on misdeclaration and non-disclosure of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN).
Albayalde added that “at 5:30 a.m. this morning (Sunday), members of his family arrived and sat down with our SITG (Special Investigation Task Group) investigators, after thorough review of details, photos, CCTV (closed-circuit television) footages, the family confirmed the identity of the perpetrator.”
According to his immediate family, his being hooked in casino gambling made him heavily indebted.
This became the cause of a misunderstanding between him, his wife and parents.
His bank account’s outstanding debt of PHP4 million and several other non-bank related debts prompted him to sell his Ford Ranger.
During the press conference, the gunman’s parents, Fernando Carlos and Teodora Carlos expressed their deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims and to the public in general.
“Today, we hope to have brought closure and peace to the bereaved families,” Albayalde said.
With this, the PNP reiterated that the attack at the luxury casino hotel is not an act of terror.
“We also reiterate our prior statements that this is not an act of terrorism but this incident is confined to the act of one man alone as we have always said,” Albayalde said.
“We have and will continue to base our pronouncements on facts and evidence properly gathered,” he added.
Albayalde also warned that they will “not allow people or any threat group to use this situation to advance their propaganda or personal causes whether foreign or local.”
The NCRPO chief added that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), on April 3, 2017, barred Jessie Carlos from all casinos, including the Resorts World.
Likewise, he urged the public not to spread false speculations regarding the incident.
“We ask for people to stop spreading false speculations linking this act to terrorism. Again, as we always maintained, this not an act of terrorism! Help us build peace here in our region by spreading only the truth,” Albayalde said.
On Saturday, the management of Resorts World Manila assured financial assistance worth PHP1 million for families of the victims.
The Southern Police District (SPD) said fatalities went up to 38, including the gunman, while 78 others were injured.