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House panel questions Resorts World Manila security chief over ‘fake name’

The security chief of Resorts World Manila on Wednesday was questioned anew over “misrepresentation,” this time over his name.

At the continuation of the House joint hearing on the deadly June 2 attack at the hotel-casino, Games and Amusements committee chair Gus Tambuting asked Armeen Gomez what his true name was.

Tambunting noted that the “real Armeen Gomez” is his brother, who is based in Naga City.

The hotel’s security chief answered in the affirmative, but did not outright admit that he is using his brother’s name, saying: “He is Armeen Alain Gomez.”

Gomez explained that he was born Armenio Gomez Jr., but has been going by the name he has been using for years. He said there are “some questions” that he “would like to answer in a separate forum, at the proper time.”

He also indicated “lapses in judgment” that he said he committed in his “younger years.”

“There have been measures out of… in my younger years. I’ve made some adjustments. But on the advice of my legal counsel, may I respectfully invoke my right against self incrimination?” he told lawmakers.

Asked if he had regrets, Gomez defended his professional record, saying it “can be backed up by my performance in the last six years,” as well as his previous work.

He added, however: “Perhaps my lapses dating 20 years back, baka po ‘yon ang puwede kong bigyan ng panahon para ma-review kung meron akong pagkakamali.”

Gomez still keeps his current position, while proceedings are ongoing over his “misrepresentation,” as well as the June 2 incident.

Asked whether they would still have hired Gomez if they found out about the circumstances sooner, the hotel’s COO, Stephen James Reilly, said they would have used “a different hiring process.”

He said, however, that Gomez “has proven himself to be very credible in his capacity while he was working for Resorts World.”

Resorts World Manila chief legal officer Georgina Alvarez also said the seeming discrepancies in Gomez’s credentials are separate from how he acted during the June 2 incident.

“I think, at the end of the day, how Mr. Gomez performed on June 2 is separate and distinct from the misrepresentation six years ago,” she said, adding that the security chief “was able to trigger the correct protocol.”

“As far as his performance on June 2, we stand by Mr. Armeen Gomez. His record will also show that in the six years he was with us, his performance appraisal was on the high mark,” she added.

Gomez earlier underwent lawmakers’ scrutiny over his professional and academic credentials. He had admitted that he is not a college graduate, and was discharged from the Philippine Military Academy for “personal reasons.”

The matter over his name was brought up a week after Gomez, through his legal counsel, sought a private audience with the chairpersons in charge of the inquiry, including Tambunting, Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop (Public Order committee), and Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez (Tourism committee).

Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas had raised the said request in last week’s hearing, saying that would be “improper.” He noted that Gomez and his lawyer may instead ask to approach the chairpersons during the hearing, if the matter could not be divulged during the public proceedings.

Gomez was able to speak with Acop at the sidelines of Wednesday afternoon’s hearing, the last of the three conducted in line with a lone gunman’s deadly attack on Resorts World Manila, which resulted in the deaths of 37 guests and employees. — RSJ/KVD, GMA News