Security officials at Virra Mall in Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan — the scene of an ongoing hostage situation — have publicly apologized to the former security guard who has been holding around 30 people captive inside the mall since noon, with several reportedly resigning over the matter.
Sascor Armor Security Agency officials have said sorry to the hostage-taker, named Alchie Paray, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports.
ABS-CBN News, meanwhile, reports that six security officers have stepped down from their posts as a result of the incident.
San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora had previously told cable channel ANC that Paray held the mall’s employees hostage because he was supposedly “disgruntled” after being fired, and had tried to convince his fellow guards to mount a “sort of coup d’etat” against the mall’s management. Paray was allegedly fired after he went absent without leave for two weeks.
Greenhills Shooting Update:
A fire truck and a rescue vehicle were also dispatched to augment the three PRC ambulances that were dispatched earlier at a hostage-taking incident in Greenhills. PRC welfare team set up a welfare desk to further assist and monitor the situation. pic.twitter.com/VRsXoKBTtb
— Philippine Red Cross (@philredcross) March 2, 2020
However, the sacked security officer failed to win his colleagues’ support, which led to the hostage situation which put the mall on lockdown and spurred the deployment of fire trucks and police.
Paray also allegedly shot security guard Ronald Velita, who was rushed to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center. Authorities said he is now in stable condition, SunStar reports.
As of 6pm today, Paray had gotten in touch with police via phone, demanding that members of the media listen in on the ongoing negotiations, but details of the conversation between him and authorities remain unclear, Rappler reports.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to erroneous early reports, the hostage-taker was incorrectly identified as Archie Paray. He has since been identified as Alchie Paray Y Pedraza. This story has been updated to reflect the latest information.
This article, BREAKING: Mall security officials apologize, step down in attempt to defuse hostage situation, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!