A 10-hour hostage drama ended with a long speech–virtually an impromptu press conference–from former security guard Archie Paray who aired his grievances in front of members of the media, local government officials, policemen and bystanders outside Virra Mall shopping center around 8 p.m. yesterday.
Paray surrendered peacefully to San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora and laid down his gun and four grenades.
Zamora accompanied Paray outside the administration office where he was permitted to aired his grievances, including allegations of security officials receiving money from stall owners.
“I’ve been having this problem since December and I told the management about my issues. They ignored my complaint, and this is the result,” Paray said in Filipino.
“I also raised complaints with the security official who I shot earlier but he also ignored my complaints. My conversations with these officials are in my phone, in case anyone can recover it.”
Paray, who was fired for always being absent without leave, shot and wounded fellow security guard Ronald Velita and then held hostage at least 30 people inside the popular shopping mall in Greenhills, San Juan City on Monday morning.
The hostage taker, according to the Virra Mall Shopping Center management, was a former employee of Safeguard Armor Security Corporation.
Paray’s 7-month pregnant wife was brought from Nueva Ecija to the Greenhills Shopping Center compound Monday evening hours before he surrendered.
Paray demanded the immediate resignation of his superiors from Sascor Armor Security Agency and for them to apologize for firing him.
Six security officials–mall corporate safety head Fernando Solina, mall security coordinator Salvador Capadocia, Sascor security agency field officer Henry Tuason, Sascor assistant director Frederick Gravador, Sascor general manager Oscar Hernandez, and Sascor operations director Villamor Sebastian–gave in to Paray’s demands and resigned in a bid to de-escalate the tension.
Hernandez said Paray could have been disgruntled with the management’s decision to rotate the security guards to avoid familiarity.
Heavily armed police were in the standoff with the former security guard while workers and customers streamed out of the shopping center after gunshots rang out and armed officers rushed to the scene.
Zamora said the hostage taker entered the establishment around 10 a.m. and tried to talk with security guards on duty.
“Then a shot rang out and we learned that he held hostage at least 30 people inside the admin office of the shopping center,” said Zamora, adding that the hostage victims were mostly stall sales personnel and employees.
“He was terminated and he feels bad about it. He tried to convince his fellow security guards to join him, but no one did,” Zamora said.
Metro Manila police director Debold Sinas rushed to the crime scene and tapped a chief negotiator to talk with the hostage taker. With AFP