President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday downplayed claims of a terror attack by the Islamic State on the Resorts World incident Friday.
Speaking to reporters at Cagayan de Oro City, Duterte said that it was simply a robbery.
“It’s not ISIS. Why would you steal those plastics if you can’t use them. That is crazy,” Duterte said, referring to P113 million worth of casino chips that were seen being stolen by the lone gunman during the attack which was captured by RW Manila’s closed circuit television footage.
Duterte said that if the attacker’s motive was terrorism, he would have shot people the moment he stepped into the casino-hotel complex.
“He doesn’t want to kill. He went there, he burned everything-- that is not the work of ISIS,” the President said.
“The work of the ISIS is more brutal. They will simply kill--not even for a reason ... Especially when you kill in the name of god. There is no rhyme and reason really,” he added.
Meanwhile, the police remain clueless on the identity of the lone gunman responsible for the upscale hotel casino fire in Pasay City early Friday morning that killed more than 30 people.
This prompted the National Bureau of Investigation to step into the case and assist the National Capital Region Police Office and the Southern Police District in their joint efforts to identify the suspect, whom the authorities earlier described as a “Caucasian.”
Metro Manila police director Oscar Albayalde clarified reports that the suspect used a private car going to the Resorts World Manila.
“He went there on a taxi and he was bringing with him two large bags and he dressed up inside an elevator and then went up to the second floor,” Albayalde said in a radio interview.
The authorities are now locating the cab and its driver, he added.
“We’re in the process of getting in touch with cab driver,” Albayalde said.
Albayalde also added to a bewildering array of contradictory messages from authorities in the initial stages of the investigation by saying police now believed the gunman had arrived at the casino in a taxi.
“We have the taxi driver [who dropped off the gunman] already,” Albayalde said, without elaborating.
But an AFP report said Albayalde and other police chiefs said repeatedly throughout Friday that recorded security footage showed the gunman drove to casino and parked his vehicle in the complex’s car park.
“The CCTV [footage] shows that he parked his car, took out his gun and directly went inside Resorts World,” Albayalde said on Friday.
There was no explanation from police on Saturday for the change in such a crucial part of the investigation.
The AFP report added that police had also given confusing or contradictory statements on other key parts of the incident on Friday.
National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa initially said police had shot dead the gunman, but then later reported the assailant wrapped himself in a blanket and burned himself to death.
Dela Rosa also said the gunman had not shot anyone, but Resorts World reported one of its security guards had suffered a gunshot wound.
He and Dela Rosa also said the man was trying to rob the casino, saying he fired at a stock room containing gambling chips and filled a backpack with chips worth P113 million ($2.3 million).
But they said the man left the backpack in a bathroom after filling it up.
Albayalde, meanwhile, is hoping that the NBI and police forensic experts would help them to identify the suspect, who the police claimed set a hotel room on fire then shot himself to death using a long firearm.
“Yes, I think the forensics is still intact and our team will conduct autopsy on the cadaver. From the serial number of the firearm, we will be able to establish the identity of the owner,” he said. With AFP
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