Gamboa satisfied with police hostage action

Archie Francisco F. Gamboa

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, yesterday said he was fully satisfied with the actions taken by the National Capital Region Police Office to resolve the Greenhills hostage-drama without firing any shot.

“Generally, I’m satisfied because nobody died. Except for the person shot by the hostage-taker, all hostages were unhurt after nearly 11 hours of being held captive at gunpoint,” the PNP chief said.

He also said that he has complete trust on NCPRO chief, Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas, that he decided not to be at the scene of the hostage-taking. “We have such a thing called devolution, that’s why we have subordinates,” the PNP chief said when asked regarding his absence in Greenhills.

Gen. Gamboa, however, said that they will still sit down to evaluate their protocols on hostage-taking incidents in the wake of several adverse comments about the way the NCRPO handled the incident including the crowd control and allowing the hostage-taker to go on FB live.

“The reasons behind the press conference, however, is tactical. In some aspects of police operations, we can’t divulge anything since crisis like this would happen from time to time,” he said on the reason why hostage-taker Alchie Paray, 32, was allowed to speak with the media.

PNP Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies director, Brigadier Gen. Michael John F. Dubria said that Paray is a licensed security guard whose permit will expire next year only.

The suspect is an employee of the Safeguard Armor Security Corporation which is also a licensed private security agency.

“At first glance, they have no liability. They (Agency) employ licensed guards. Their records are OK,” Dubria said.

However, he said that the suspect yielded a loaded caliber .45 pistol with its serial numbers tampered. “Obviously, it can’t be an Agency-owned firearm since they don’t have serial numbers,” he said.

The San Juan City Police Station will be filing criminal charges against the suspect including frustrated murder, alarm and scandal and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

Dubria said that the incident will also prompt them to be further strict in checking the clearances including neuro-psychiatric clearances being submitted by applicants for security guard licenses as well as regularly conducting post-to-post inspections to look at the guards’ Duty Detail Order, their uniforms, service firearms and other matters.

Sinas said that the hostage-taking incident started at around 10 a.m. Monday and ended 8:45 p.m. He said that Paray was in possession of a gun which he used to shoot his officer-in-charge Ronald Beleta in the chest and leg. The victim is now in stable condition.

The NCRPO chief said that their investigation showed that Paray held at gunpoint 10 females and 40 males. He added that they strictly observed the Police Operational Procedures (POP) on Hostage-Crisis Situations with paramount emphasis on the safety of the hostages, the police personnel on the ground, and the hostage-taker himself.

Thus, the area was strictly cordoned with the incident scene secured and isolated. No one was allowed to talk with the hostage-taker too without clearance from expert negotiator, Colonel Orlando Yebra Jr.

Sinas said that that all of Paray’s demands were met including his wish to be allowed to talk in front of his colleagues and the press. Shortly after he released all his hostages, the suspect was given the opportunity to speak his heart and mind.

“Plainclothes officers just waited for the chance to grab him in the middle of his talk,” the official said.