HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez believed that the attack at the Resorts World that claimed 38 lives was an act of "terrorism," contrary to the conclusion of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
During the interpellation on Wednesday, National Capital Region Police Office Chief Oscar Albayalde defined terrorism as "an act of violence that would create massive casualties and massive fear in the population."
Using Albayalde's words, Alvarez then said that the crime committed by lone assailant, Jessie Javier Carlos, when he torched gaming tables that caused the death of the 37 hotel employees and guests must be "terrorism" since "it did cause terror to the people."
However, the police official said that the deaths of the victims were only incidental to the main crimes initially planned by Carlos, which were robbery and arson.
"Well, of course there was fear. But the deaths were all incidental po doon sa pagsunog niya. Remember, iyon pong ginawa ni [Carlos], kaya namatay yung mga taong 'yun was not intentional on the part of the suspect to really inflict…or probably kill those people," Albayalde said.
Carlos on the midnight of Friday stormed into the luxury casino hotel armed with a gun and gasoline, with the intention to steal gaming chips to sustain his gambling addiction, police reports said.
He torched gaming tables and carpets on different levels of the hotel, causing suffocation to the guests who were then trapped to their deaths.
But the police refused to categorize the case as terrorism just because "it caused fear" since that would mean all crimes can now be considered "terrorism."
Albayalde was backed by Local Government Undersecretary Catalino Cuy.
"What General Albayalde….first, he said that that incident may be considered as terrorism because it caused damaged and death and injury to people. But because of the ongoing incident in Marawi, he was just emphasizing that based on available information and evidence it's not related to that particular terrorism that is happening in Mindanao," Cuy said.
The joint congressional hearing is still ongoing as of this posting. (SunStar Philippines)