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Police: RWM gunman, a ‘high-roller’ gambler

The gunman who attacked a casino-hotel Friday has been identified as Jessie Javier Carlos, a 42-year-old former employee of the Department of Finance (DoF) who was heavily in debt due to gambling.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde made the announcement yesterday in a press conference also attended by the suspect’s estranged wife and parents.

Albayalde said the suspect’s family came forward and sat down with investigators at 5:30 a.m. yesterday to confirm the identity of the gunman whose action led to the death of 37 people at the Resorts World Manila in Manila.

“Today, we hope to have brought closure and peace to the bereaved families. We mourn with you,” said Albayalde.

The suspect’s identification bolsters the police’s assertion that terrorism was not behind the attack.

“This incident is confined to the act of one man alone as we have always said,” Albayalde remarked. “We will not allow people or any threat group to use this situation to advance their propaganda or personal whether foreign or local.”

The six-hour drama at RWM caught world attention with United States President Donald Trump among those following closely the developments.

It turned out that the police were right all along – that terrorism had nothing to do with Friday’s incident.

Albayalde said the suspect was considered a “high-roller” gambler whose minimum bet was P40,000.

He said Carlos was not deranged, but had been unstable due to the problems he was facing.

Carlos was dismissed from the DoF in connection with his State of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) in 2014.

He had been estranged from his wife and parents because of his addiction to gambling.

Albayalde said Carlos owed banks P4 million apart from non-bank related debts. He added that the suspect also sold his Ford Ranger and a property in Batangas to finance his vice.

That led to his separation from his wife Jen with whom he had three children.

The wife, who arrived in a wheelchair, was at the press conference together with the suspect’s parents – Fernando and Teodora.

Jen, however, did not entertain questions because of extreme emotional depression.

The parents, however, asked for forgiveness from the families of victims.

“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. Biktima rin po kami. Mabait po ang anak ko na-ano lang po siya sa casino,” Teodora said, her voice cracking.

Teodora appealed to parents similarly situated to act before it’s too late.

“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. Humihingi po kami ng tawad sa inyo hindi po namin matanggap na nagkaganoon ang anak ko,” she added.

But what apparently triggered Carlos’ hatred was when the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) banned him from all casinos last April 3 upon request of next-of-kin, according to Albayalde.

“So this could probably have triggered him kaya galit na galit siya sa casino,” the police official said.

How Carlos managed to acquire the firearms and ammunitions is still being investigated by police, according to Albayalde.

He said the .38 pistol found beside his body was last registered in 1998 to someone who is already in the United States.

“Yung isa naman, yong mahaba (rifle), its serial number is already defaced,” Albayalde said. (MARTIN SADONGDONG)

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