SPECIAL Weapons and Tactics (Swat) operatives pounced on former security guard Archie Paray, subdued and arrested him, ending around nine hours of hostage crisis inside the V-Mall in Greenhills Center in San Juan City Monday, March 2.
Paray, who still had a 9-mm gun and a magazine tucked into his waist, was explaining his reasons for taking several people hostage when the authorities, fearful that he might still fire his gun, grabbed him.
He was taken to the San Juan Police Station, where he was booked for illegal possession of firearms, illegal possession of explosives and frustrated murder for shooting mall officer-in-charge Ronald Velita earlier.
Paray admitted to shooting Velita, who is in stable condition at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, in a press conference after the hostage crisis, said Paray held between 60 and 70 people. Some, however, were able to escape without the knowledge of the suspect.
He said Paray agreed to come out of the mall after they acceded to his demands and assured him that he will not be harmed. The suspect had demanded that he be allowed to speak with his fellow security guards and the media.
The suspect, in explaining his actions, complained of a corrupt system at the mall and accused his supervisors at Sascor Armor Security Corporation of receiving P5,000 from some tenants.
"Lahat naman dito tumatanggap ng pera... Pagpasok (ng tenant), may P200, P300, o P500 kung galante (ang tenant)," he said, referring to the system that allows some tenants to use "selected entrances" to the mall for a fee.
He also said his superiors treated him and other fellow security guards unfairly.
He belied a Sascor official's explanation that the company regularly "rotates" assignments. Oscar Hernandez, Sascor general manager, earlier said Paray was not terminated but was affected by the rotation.
Paray, however, said the officials merely use this rotation of personnel as a way of getting rid of guards like him who do not conform to the "corrupt" system in the mall.
Paray said he had no intention of harming any of his hostages. If anyone should get hurt, he said it would be him.
He also said he bluffed about having four grenades because he carried only one, which he left inside the mall before his surrender.
Paray said he hoped that his actions would serve as a lesson to the mall management and his employers, who allegedly look down on the people they supervise.
Paray agreed to give up a couple of hours after security officers of Greenhills Center, where V-Mall is located, and officials of Sascor each issued an apology and declared that they were willing to resign.
Aside from Hernandez, those who publicly apologized to Paray are: Fernando Solina, head of corporate safety and security of Greenhills; Salvador Capadocia, security coordinator of Greenhills mall; Henry Tuason, field officer of Sascor; Frederick Gravador, assistant director of Sascor; and Luis Villamor, director for operations of Sascor.
Solina and Capadocia clarified that they had nothing to do with the alleged termination of Paray since he is not their employee. Paray was hired by Sascor, which provides security services to the mall. (SunStar Philippines)