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Resorts World Manila security chief grilled during House probe


House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas on Wednesday scrutinized the credentials and educational background of Resorts World Manila security chief Armeen Gomez.

During the House probe on the attack in the posh hotel-casino last week, Fariñas asked Gomez about his work experience as a security officer.

"Your honor, I've been a practitioner for almost a... a security practitioner for more than ten years already. I was certified protection professional, it's a board certification. I pass and I also experienced..." Gomez said.

He was cut by Fariñas and instead asked him if he had any police or military background.

Gomez said he only had "short, stint training" during his early years.

Gomez then added, "If I just explained further my background and our organizational structure, prior to my joining Resorts World, I also... a big part of La Salle group as director as well for six years, for safety and security. I don't want to tell it but during that time there was a time when I figured in a same challenging situation and a hostage situation and the videos and news for some perhaps... I was the one who subdued that hostage. I handed the hostage crisis that time."

He was later corrected by Fariñas, "You subdued the hostage-taker."

 


 

The security chief also admitted that he went to Philippine Military Academy but later discharged for "personal reasons."

"No, I went out for personal reasons, your honor. I was discharged but for personal reasons," he said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Romeo Acop also grilled Gomez's educational attainment.

"Halatang halatang hindi totoo 'yung sinasabi mo eh. Imbestigador ako dati, from your reactions on the questions of the majority, alam ko nang hindi ka nagsasabi ng totoo. So may I know when were you turned back?" Acop said.

Gomez had conflicting statements with regards to the year when he was "finally dismissed" from the Philippine Military Academy.

"Nalilito ka iho eh. Isulat mo pumasok ka ng 1995, 2nd year ka 1996... diba? Eh kasi eto ikaw security officer, buhay ang nakasalalay sa 'yo diba? When did you finally get out of the academy?" Acop added.

It was later found out that Gomez did not finish college.

Fariñas seemed not convinced with Gomez's competence as security chief of the establishment.

"In your hiring, requirements... you have 12,000 people there... and Mr. Gomez said he has ten years training.  We thought you should have more qualified persons... I'm not demeaning your personal status... Kaya lang we would want to believe that somebody was training... and everything these persons," Fariñas said.

"We are very embarrassed to the people of the Philippines. We are in grief but more than our grief, we are angry... as representatives of the people, [that] this happened," he said.

"Mind you, Sir, this is a lone person who the PNP discounted as not even a terrorist," he added.

The lawmaker also grilled Gomez on his whereabouts when the attack happened.

Gomez explained that he was already on his way home when other security personnel informed him about the incident, but he immediately returned to Resorts World Manila.

"Mr Speaker... I was on my way home at the time, but around two, three minutes after... I received a call, 'Sir, we're under attack.' So with that I said, 'Go after, execute evacuation and emergency protocols. inform the PNP (Philippine National Police), I'll be there," Gomez said.

Fariñas also slammed the other security staff who supposedly ran instead of engaging a fight with gunman Jessie Carlos.

"Anong klaseng training 'yon? Nakatsinelas ba 'yon? Ganyan ang security mo sa Resorts World, Mr. Gomez? Oh takbo-takbo siya oh... Oh eto nag-engage eh," he said.

Gomez said the one wearing slippers was a security officer who was about to go home when the incident happened. "If I may answer your honor, actually he was going home, that's why he's wearing slippers already but when he learned of the incident, he ran [to respond to the incident]. Because it's already past midnight your honor."

Thirty-seven people, including guests and employees, died due to suffocation following the attack at the Resorts World Manila.

Carlos, the lone gunman and former employee of the Finance department, also died as he torched and shot himself.

Carlos' family admitted that he was a casino gambling addict. — RSJ, GMA News