Man in casino attack was heavy gambler | Inquirer News

Man in casino attack was heavy gambler

By: - Reporter / @erikaINQ
/ 01:55 AM June 05, 2017

In a capital embarrassment for the Islamic State (IS) terror group, the Philippine National Police on Sunday said the gunman who attacked and burned a casino in Pasay City on Friday that left 37 people dead, was a father of three who was motivated by heavy gambling debts, not terrorism.

IS, under heavy pressure from US-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the attack on Resorts World Manila, with a report on its Amaq news agency website that its “fighters” carried out the assault.


But Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, said on Sunday that the gunman had been identified as Jessie Javier Carlos, 42, a Catholic with three children from Manila who had been banned from all casinos following a request from his parents because of addiction to gambling.


President Duterte on Sunday said that he was sorry for the tragedy and apologized to the families of the victims, who he said expected the police to respond quickly to the attack.

“The hotel has to explain to us why were there not enough exits,” Mr. Duterte told reporters in Subic, where he toured a visiting Japanese warship.

Most of the 37 fatalities died from suffocation and smoke inhalation.

Although armed, Carlos did not fire on the casino patrons, bolstering police conclusion that he was not a terrorist.

Fired from DOF

Investigation showed Carlos was a former employee of the Department of Finance (DOF). He was assigned in the One-Stop Shop Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center, but was fired by the Ombudsman for graft and corruption.

“We reiterate that this is not an act of terrorism but this incident is confined to the act of one man alone,” Albayalde told reporters after the gunman had been identified.


Investigators had been able to locate Carlos’ home in Santa Cruz, Manila, through backtracking, starting with the taxi driver who dropped him off at the Resorts World complex, Albayalde said.

The PNP also presented the gas station clerk from whom Carlos bought two 1.5-liter bottles of gasoline, which he used to torch the casino’s gambling tables.

“He is heavily indebted due to being hooked on casino gambling. This became the cause of misunderstanding with his wife and parents,” Albayalde said.

He said Carlos had sold off property, including a vehicle and a farm in Batangas province, to support his gambling habit of at least several years.

Albayalde said Carlos also had a debt of P4 million on his credit card.

His family had grown so concerned they asked the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to ban him from its casinos, Albayalde said.

Pagcor banned Carlos from all of its casinos on April 3, he added.

Albayalde described Carlos as a high roller who would place minimum bets of P40,000 on the gaming tables.

Carlos lived with his wife, Jen, in the house on Felix Huertas Street.

The widow admitted to police that she recognized Carlos when she saw his picture on television news, but she could not come forward because she feared for the safety of their children, Albayalde said.

She was at the news briefing, sitting in a wheelchair, but did not make a statement.

‘Forgive us’

Carlos’ distraught mother, Teodora, wept during the news briefing and asked the public and the families of the victims for forgiveness.

“We ask for your forgiveness. We can’t accept ourselves that things turned out like this. He was a very kind son,” she said. “He chose to end his life rather than kill and kill people.”

Carlos’ father, Fernando, also asked for forgiveness.

The DOF confirmed on Sunday that Carlos had been its employee and that he was dismissed in 2014 for graft and corruption.

In a statement, the DOF said Carlos was a tax specialist at the One-Stop Shop Tax and Duty Drawback Center who was sued for “failing to disclose all of his assets” in his financial disclosure.

The DOF said the Ombudsman found Carlos had unexplained wealth and had most likely falsified his financial disclosure.

“Carlos, whose last gross annual salary was P210,000, was found to have an incongruent amount of assets and properties. Over 10 years, a period in which he would have earned a total of P2.46 million in income, he has acquired a disproportionately high amount of assets totaling P9.36 million. Among some of these assets are a property in Manila worth P1.1 million and a farm lot [in Batangas province] worth P4 million which he bought in cash,” the DOF said.

Carlos defended himself, claiming he had liabilities of P7.54 million but the Ombudsman found the claim dubious, as he failed to present evidence, the DOF said.

Video of attack

The identification of Carlos came after authorities released security footage showing him casually getting off a taxi just after midnight on Friday and walking calmly into the vast Resorts World entertainment and gambling complex.

Shortly afterward, he donned a black balaclava, slipped on an ammunition vest and pulled an M4 assault rifle out of his backpack.

What followed bordered on the surreal: a slow-motion arson attack and robbery so methodical and unhurried, the gunman appears to walk much of the way even as he exchanges fire with a security guard and flees, slightly wounded, up a stairwell.

At least 37 patrons and employees died, mostly from suffocation and smoke inhalation as they tried to hide on the second floor, including one of the casino’s VIP rooms, Albayalde said.

Police said the gunman fled to an adjoining hotel, where he forced his way into a room and set himself on fire.

IDENTIFIED The photo of Jessie Javier Carlos, the casino attacker, is shown to journalists by Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

IDENTIFIED The photo of Jessie Javier Carlos, the casino attacker, is shown to journalists by Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

While the gunman has been identified, the investigation will continue to determine the liability of the Resorts World management, Albayalde said.

“We will investigate possible lapses, including why nobody engaged the gunman when he was walking around the casino all alone,” he said.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Sunday directed the National Bureau of Investigation to determine the liability of Resorts World and any government agency for the deadly attack on the casino.

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“The ultimate goal is to file appropriate charges, if any, as the evidence may warrant. Tragedies like this should not be allowed to happen again,” Aguirre said. —WITH REPORTS FROM CHRISTINE O. AVENDANO, NIKKO DIZON, MARLON RAMOS, BEN O. DE VERA, AP AND AFP

TAGS: casino, gambling

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