The House of Representatives issued a subpoena for the chairperson of Travellers International Hotel Group, the company that owns and operates Resorts World Manila, the casino of which was attacked by a lone gunman last June 2.
During the resumption of the House inquiry into the casino attack that killed 37 people, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, the majority leader, said the committee received a letter that David Ming Huat Chua would not be able to attend the House inquiry because he had been abroad since June 11.
Resorts World Manila President Kingson Sian said Chua lives in Hong Kong and is not a Filipino citizen.
Sian said Chua visited the families of the deceased and the injured before he left for Hong Kong.
Fariñas moved for the committee to issue a subpoena to compel Chua to appear before the committee.
He warned that if Chua would defy the subpoena a warrant of arrest would be issued against him, which was what happened to Ilocos Norte provincial officials who were detained after Fariñas cited them for contempt in connection with the probe on the alleged misuse of tobacco funds.
“I move that we issue a subpoena to this person,” Fariñas said. “If he doesn’t appear, it”s up to him. What comes after is a warrant of arrest.”
Fariñas said Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez would have wanted to subpoena real estate mogul Andrew Tan, chief executive officer of Alliance Global Group Inc. and Megaworld Corp., for the hearing.
But it turned out Tan was not a member of the Board of Travellers International, Fariñas said.
Travellers International is a joint venture of the Alliance Global Group Inc. and Genting Hong Kong Ltd., which is licensed by the government to manage Resorts World Manila.
“Mr. Andrew Tan is not an officer nor a member of the BOD of the corporation,” Fariñas later told reporters. “Upon this information being relayed to the Speaker, he approved my recommendation that Mr. Chua will have to be the one to appear for the hearing.”
Travellers International is the developer and operator of Resorts World Manila, according to its website.
During Wednesday’s hearing, lawmakers were also shown the CCTV footage showing the gunman, Jessie Javier Carlos, leaving behind a bag of ammunition on a burning casino table.
The bag, which contained 300 rounds of ammunition, went off, causing bullets to explode between midnight and 12:30 a.m., giving the impression that there were many attackers that night.
Sian said most of the fatalities died of suffocation because they were too afraid to come out of hiding because of this mistaken impression.
Lawmakers during the earlier hearing lamented the security lapses of Resorts World Manila, which was then manned by a lone female guard even though its license required the casino to be secured by at least two guards.
The police had described Carlos as a gambling addict who was banned from all casinos and was in deep debt before he carried out the attack.
On June 2, Carlos barged in the casino carrying an M4 carbine and fired shots. He went on to torch casino tables and steal P113.1-million worth of casino chips. /atm
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