House to probe security lapses in Resorts World attack on Wednesday

By on June 6, 2017


(Malacanang stock photo)
(Malacanang stock photo)

MANILA — Two panels of the House of Representatives will conduct on Wednesday a joint legislative inquiry on the alleged security lapses and other failed safety protocols during the recent Resorts World attack that claimed the lives of 38 people, including the lone gunman.

The House committees on games and amusements and public order and safety will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the conference hall of NAIA Terminal 3 and will be supervised by Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

Among those invited in the House probe include officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Resorts World Hotel and Casino, and the Pasay City building permits department, as well as civilian witnesses to shed light on several issues.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, a member of both committees, said the House will look into the possibility of lapses in security and emergency protocols that may have contributed to the high number of deaths and injuries.

“Apart from determining lapses in security, the committee will look into the preparedness of the hotel management and staff to deal with an emergency like a fire, as well as the soundness of the fire protection system in the hotel, the exit areas and other aspects of emergency management,” Castelo said.

The committee will also look into whether or not the building had complied with existing safety standards to begin with, Castelo added.

Another Quezon City lawmaker, Alfred Vargas, said casualties would have been minimized if security and safety measures were in place.

“Incidents of this magnitude may have been prevented if there were no lapses in security,” said Vargas, who filed a House resolution calling for the investigation on the Resorts World incident.

According to Vargas, among the pertinent issues that need to be investigated include: the Resorts World management’s shortcomings; the delayed intervention of the PNP Southern Police District; the BFP’s failure to inspect the establishment; as well as the funeral services for holding up the victims’ remains.

Last June 2, a lone gunman, armed with an M-4 rifle, barged into the luxury casino hotel, shooting indiscriminately and causing panic among hotel guests.

He also set fire on gaming tables and stole PHP113 million worth of casino chips, which were later recovered. Authorities later found the gunman burned beyond recognition in a room at the hotel’s fifth floor.

The police identified the gunman as Jessie Carlos, Filipino, 42, separated, and a former employee of the Department of Finance (DOF).

The police said at least 37 hotel guests and employees died of suffocation due to the fire while at least 78 were injured and brought to various hospitals.