It was a white-collar conflict leading to a blue-collar bloodshed.
But authorities probing Thursday’s shooting at Burgundy Corporate Tower in Makati City said the old board of directors who hired the security guards involved in the incident will not be included in the charges to be filed by the police.
City’s police chief Senior Supt. Manuel Lukban said two members of the Swag security agency allegedly fired the shots that killed another guard who was part of the team tapped by the new board members to escort a court sheriff.
“According to the members of the Swag security agency, there was no order to shoot. They were only instructed to secure Burgundy. There was no instruction to use their firearms against the other security groups,” Lukban said in a phone interview.
He said there was no basis to directly link the old directors and the head of the security agency to the death of one guard.
The two Swag guards who allegedly fired the fatal shots—Raymond Cagayungan Leon and Mark Anthony Urriza Romero— will be charged with homicide in the Makati prosecutor’s office, he said.
But Nilo Santos, chair of the new Burgundy board, said there was reason to believe “these security guards would not have acted on their own volition. They were obviously ordered to shoot and keep our security guards away.”
The corporate dispute for the control of the 38-story building on Gil Puyat Avenue turned violent Thursday afternoon, when a shooting erupted on the driveway between armed security groups working for the rival board members.
The fatality was identified as Jimmy Lagunsad, a native of Baguio City and a member of the Sidekick security agency hired by new board.
The Makati police later held 126 security guards for questioning and ballistics tests. Only two from Swag remained in police custody as of Friday afternoon.
The shooting stemmed from the longstanding dispute between the old board led by Roger Serafica and the newly elected board led by president Ramon Garcia. The two camps have been fighting for control of the 10-year-old building constructed in 2003 by the Serafica-led Burgundy Realty Corp.
On Thursday afternoon, the Makati court sheriff arrived at the building to enforce a temporary restraining order, which the Garcia camp had secured from Makati City Judge Joselito Villarosa earlier that day to prevent the Serafica group from exercising its powers.
But the sheriff was met with resistance by about hundred members of the Swag security agency who, according to the new board members, started taking over the building last week.
Shots were fired between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. The new board’s counsel, Ben Malcontento, earlier claimed that there was actually no exchange of gunfire and that all the shots came from inside the building.
Lukban, however, said initial police findings showed otherwise. “Based on what our investigators saw, there are traces that the security group outside fired back.”