MANILA – A nine-hour hostage standoff inside a mall in San Juan City ended on Monday night after the gunman released all his hostages and surrendered himself to the police.
The hostage-taker identified as Alchie Paray, a former security guard of the V-Mall located in Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan City, exited the building and released his hostages at around 8:16 p.m. after a long negotiation.
Paray was allowed to talk to the media without handcuffs to air his grievances for almost 20 minutes.
The disgruntled former security guard said the poor treatment being given to him and to his fellow security guards by their management prompted him to plan the hostage taking.
"Dahil kami siguro gwardiya lang (Maybe we are just security guards)," Paray said as fellow security guards applauded him.
Paray also complained of the alleged corruption at Greenhills Shopping Center, claiming his superiors receive PHP5,000 bribe from tenants.
He asked San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora what will happen to him after his surrender.
“Pagkatapos nito mayor, saan ang pupuntahan ko, sa presinto o sa sementeryo? (After this mayor, where will I be heading to, police precinct or cemetery?),” Paray asked Zamora.
Zamora told Paray to think about his family. Paray said he would rather choose the cemetery.
Moments after Paray stopped talking, commotion ensued as authorities suddenly tackled Paray and pinned him down.
During negotiation, Zamora assured Paray that he will be safe if he puts down his weapon and comes out.
“We have to make him relax. Ramdam ko siya gustong ilabas na sama ng loob. Sa pamamagitan media gusto niya ilabas sama na loob niya, isa sa mga demand gusto niya makausap yung media (I felt he wanted to air his grievances to the media),” Zamora told reporters after the incident.
Zamora assured that Paray will be safe while under the custody of San Juan police while legal charges are being prepared against him.
The 32-year-old Paray entered the V-Mall at around 10 a.m., shot and wounded a mall guard and took around 30 people, mostly employees of the mall, as hostages inside the mall's administration office.
The wounded victim, a security guard named Ronald Velita, was brought to a nearby hospital and now in stable condition.
Zamora and the management of the shopping mall confirmed that Paray is a disgruntled former security guard who was fired from his job.
Paray asked the security officials of the mall to apologize for relieving him.
At around 5 p.m. the security officials apologized to Paray and said that they are ready to resign from their post to end the hostage crisis.
"Para kay Archie ako at humihingi ng tawad sa pagkukulang na nagawa ko sayo at ako ay handang mag resign, humihingi ako ng paumanhin (For Archie, I apologize for what I did to you. I am ready to resign. I apologize)," said Henry Tuason, field officer of SASCOR Armor Security Agency, in a press briefing.
Frederick Gravador, assistant director of the SASCOR, also apologized and said he is also ready to resign. (PNA)