By Martin Sadongdong
The lone gunman responsible for the casino attack that led to the deaths of 37 people last Friday at Resorts World Manila (RWM) was identified yesterday as a Filipino formerly employed in the Department of Finance (DOF) and described by his family as “addicted to gambling.”
The police underscored that he was not a terrorist.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde identified the gunman as Jessie Javier Carlos, 42, separated, a former tax expert at the DOF whose last known address was at No. 1663 Felix Huertas St. corner San Lazaro St., Barangay 339, Zone 34, Sta. Cruz, Manila.
He was dismissed from the civil service in 2014, Albayalde added.
Albayalde said they traced the address of Carlos as they did a backtracking of events with the taxi driver they presented the other day to media.
“After backtracking, we have finally established the identity of the perpetrator. At 5:30 a.m. this morning (Sunday) members of his family arrived and sat down with our SITG (Special Investigation Task Group) investigators. After thorough review of details, photos, CCTV footages, the family confirmed the identity of the perpetrator,” he said.
Albayalde revealed that Carlos got so addicted to casino gambling several years back and became so hooked that he was even barred by the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) from entering all casinos in the country since April 3, 2017.
“On April 3, 2017, he (Carlos) was barred by PAGCOR from all casinos due to the request of his next of kin. So this could probably have triggered him kaya galit na galit siya sa casino,” Albayalde said.
The casino at RWM is not under the PAGCOR.
Albayalde also revealed that Carlos was considered a “high-roller” gambler whose minimum bet was P40,000. “Kaya siya nalulong nang nalulong sa sugal (That’s why he good hooked on gambling).”
‘Not deranged but unstable’
Albayalde also said Carlos was not a deranged or “crazy” man, but he believes Carlos was already unstable due to piles of problems he was facing.
Quoting the gunman’s family, the NCRPO chief said Carlos was deep in debt because of his addiction to gambling in casinos. “This became the cause of misunderstanding with his wife and parents,” he said.
“He (Carlos) has a bank account with an outstanding debt of P4 million and several other non-bank related debts. He sold his Ford Ranger due to financial constraints,” Albayalde added.
In addition to that, Carlos also sold their property in Batangas to finance his vice.
Apparently, Carlos’ addiction led to the end of his marriage with her wife, Jen, leaving behind his three children aged 17, 14 and 7.
Jen, who arrived in a wheelchair, faced the media together with Carlos’ parents Fernando and Teodora. However, she did not entertain questions from the press as she was suffering from extreme emotional depression, according to Albayalde.
Teodora and Fernando expressed their most sincere apologies to the families of the 37 killed and 76 injured guests and employees of Resorts World Manila.
“Hindi rin ho namin matanggap na nagkaganun siya kaya humihingi po kami ng tawad sa mga nadisgrasya ng anak ko. Wala pong bisyo yung anak ko ‘yun lang ho ang naging ano niya (We cannot accept what he had done, so we are asking forgiveness from the casualties of my son’s actions. He had no other vice, but gambling),” Teodora said in tears.
“Ang mensahe ko lang sa mga magulang na nalululong ang anak, awatin po ninyo ang anak ninyo. Kami rin namimighati rin po kami. Hindi namin matanggap na umabot sa ganitong pangyayari (My message to parents with children addicted to gambling is for you to stop them. We, too, are in despair. We cannot accept that it had to come to this),” she said.
Fernando also denied his eldest son was involved in any terror group.
“Hindi ho siya ganoon. Sasabihin ko po sa inyo wala po siyang bisyo bukod sa casino. Tahimik po siyang tao. Talagang nalulong lang po siya (He’s not a terrorist. I can tell you that he has no other vice but casinos. He keeps to himself. He just got hooked on gambling),” Fernando said.
“Humihingi po kami ng patawad sa nagawa ng anak ko (We are sorry for what my son has done).”
Case closed but
Albayalde said the case is already considered closed as they have finally identified the assailant behind the Resorts World Manila attack.
He said the investigation has proven that the motive behind the attack was robbery and not terrorism.
“As promised iimbestigahan natin lahat ng anggulo (all angles were considered in the investigation),” he said. “On this note, we also reiterate our prior statements that this is not an act of terrorism but this incident is confined to the act of one man alone as we have always said,” he said.
On the legal aspect, Albayalde said: “I’m sure meron at merong mananagot dito. Kung magfa-file ng kaso ‘yung mga namatayan we’d be willing to assist them, both the civil liability and criminal liability ito dahil maraming nasawi dito,” Albayalde said.
Previously, the management of Resorts World Manila was criticized after authorities said it lacked proper security measures.
Albayalde said one part of the investigation is to establish where Carlos got his firearm. He disclosed that the caliber .380 pistol found beside his body was registered in 1998 to “somebody who was already in the US.”
In a separate press briefing Saturday afternoon, Stephen Reilley, RWM chief operating officer, said they would release financial assistance to the victims and their families “to address their immediate needs.”
“On top of the funeral and burial assistance that Resorts World Manila will shoulder, we are extending P1 million to the families of the deceased,” Reilley said.
“With this financial assistance, we hope that we will be able to somehow help each family hurdle through their needs during this most difficult time,” he added.
The management of Resorts World Manila has yet to give a word about the aid they would give to the families of the injured victims.
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