Malacañang satisfied with handling of Greenhills hostage crisis
MANILA, Philippines – After 30 people were held hostage by a former security guard at a Greenhills shopping mall, Malacañang on Tuesday, March 3, expressed overall satisfaction with way police and the San Juan local government handled the crisis.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace news briefing that this was President Rodrigo Duterte's reaction to the incident as he shared Duterte was "happy that there was no casualty except for one."
"I understand there have been some criticisms," Panelo said, referring to the handling of the hostage crisis. "[Philippine National Police chief] General Gamboa said it was tactical. In other words, apparently the main concern is the safety fo the 30 hostages and since they survived and are alive, I think we should welcome that."
"For as long as people are alive, we welcome it," he added, when asked if the Palace was satisfied with officials' handing of the crisis.
What happened? On Monday, March 2, sacked security guard Alchie Paray went rogue and stormed V-Mall at the Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City at around 11:30 am, gun and grenade in hand. (TIMELINE: Hostage-taking incident in Greenhills mall)
Paray shot his former officer-in-charge and rounded up 30 people in the mall's administration room as he demanded to speak with fellow guards and the media.
The standoff lasted until 8:45 pm, when Paray walked out of the mall with the 30 people. Paray then proceeded to speak for 20 minutes, fuming against alleged mistreatment by Greenhills Shopping Center's management and his security agency, Safeguard Armor Security Corporation.
Paray was arrested a few minutes later as 5 cops tackled him to the ground upon spotting a pistol on his waist.
What comes next? Netizens have criticized the handling of the incident, including the decision to allow Paray to speak to the public.
Unlike in previous crises like the 2010 Manila bus hostage, reporters in the Greenhills hostage incident were urged to go live as Paray demanded his conversations with authorities be made public.
But for Malacañang, at least, what mattered most was people's safety as Panelo acknowledged that no hostage was killed in the tense standoff.
Complaints of illegal possession of explosives, illegal possession of firearms, frustrated murder, grave coercion, and grave threat are being prepared against Paray. – Rappler.com