MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte was “happy” over how members of the San Juan City police force handled the nine-hour hostage standoff involving a disgruntled former security guard inside a mall in San Juan City Monday night.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte was glad that the case was resolved with only one injured person amid criticism that it could have been handled better.
“He [Duterte] was happy that there was no casualty except for one,” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año briefed Duterte and the Cabinet regarding the hostage-taking incident during Monday night’s 47th Cabinet meeting.
Panelo acknowledged the criticism over cops allowing the hostage-taker to hold a press conference without handcuffs to air his grievances for almost 20 minutes, but noted that all hostages were released unscathed.
“I understand there have been some criticisms. And [Philippine National Police chief] General [Archie] Gamboa said it was tactical. In other words, apparently the main concern is the safety of the 30 hostages and since they survived and they’re alive, I think we should welcome that,” he said.
Hostage taker Alchie Paray, a former security guard of the V-Mall located in Greenhills Shopping Center, released the hostages 8:16 p.m. Mondays after hours of negotiation with cops and San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora.
Paray complained about the management’s poor treatment of him and his fellow security guards which prompted him to plan the hostage taking.
Moments after Paray stopped talking, commotion ensued as authorities suddenly tackled and pinned him down.
“I do not know what transpired between the negotiator and the hostage taker. That could be one of the terms that they agreed upon for his surrender. For as long as people are alive, we welcome it,” Panelo said.
The wounded victim, security guard Ronald Velita, was brought to Cardinal Santos Medical Center and now in stable condition.
San Juan City police said Paray was set to be charged with frustrated murder, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of explosives, and serious illegal detention before the San Juan City Prosecutors’ Office. (ia/PNA)