Dead or alive? San Juan City chief disprove alleged death of Greenhills hostage taker

March 5, 2020 - 5:36 PM
Alchie Paray in police custody
A photo showed police officers giving dinner to Alchie Paray, the suspect of the hostage-taking incident at Greenhills (Hayme Santoast via Facebook)

San Juan City Police Chief Jaime Santos showed photos of the incarcerated suspect of the recent Greenhills hostage-taking incident to disprove online rumors that he was found dead.

A former security guard identified as Alchie Paray held a daylong hostage crisis at Virra Mall or V-Mall in San Juan City last Monday. Paray also shot one of his fellow security personnel.

After almost 10 hours of negotiation with Paray, the hostages were freed and the suspect was arrested and taken away by members of the Special Weapons and Tactics team.

The San Juan City Police filed five charges against him, including illegal detention and frustrated murder.

Reports later circulated on social media that the police officers found Paray dead inside his jail cell. One post came from a website with a video bearing ABS-CBN’s logo.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

Santos debunked this as fake news and posted photos of Paray in the cell as proof that the suspect is alive.

Para po sa kaalaman ng lahat, hindi po totoo ang kumakalat na balita sa Social Media na si Alchie Paray, suspek sa mga…

Posted by Hayme Santoast on Wednesday, March 4, 2020

“Para po sa kaalaman ng lahat, hindi po totoo ang kumakalat na balita sa Social Media na si Alchie Paray, suspek sa mga kaso at hostage drama noong Marso 2, 2020 sa Greenhills Shopping center ay natagpuang Patay na,” Santos said.

“Ang pamunuan po ng San Juan Police Station sa pangunguna ng inyong lingkod ang nagpapatunay nito,” he added.

According to the city police chief, the photos he shared showed cops bringing him dinner at 7:10 pm on Wednesday.

In recent years, a number of suspects and convicted criminals were found dead while in police custody.

Genesis Argoncillo, one of the suspects in the government’s crackdown on street crimes and tambays, was beaten to death while in jail in 2018.

In April 2019, Joselito Cortez, one of the suspects behind the killing of a family in Bulacan, supposedly committed suicide while in detention.

Earlier this year, a man accused of raping and killing a child was also found unconscious. The suspect, identified as Ricardo Burce, was rushed to a hospital but pronounced dead on arrival.

Hostage crisis aftermath

Several lapses were observed and discussed following the hostage-taking situation.

Despite the obvious danger and warning from authorities, onlookers gathered at the area, filming the reported shooting incident and hostage situation with their phones. Some questioned the local police for being unable to control them.

Paray’s delivery of a speech, which was likened to a “press conference,” was also criticized.

Labor group Defend Job Philippines, meanwhile, urged public officials to look into the alleged mistreatment and bribery in the management Paray raised in the 20-minute address.

For its part, the management of Greenhills Shopping Center vowed to investigate these claims and prevent a repeat of such crisis.

Santos later said in an interview that local police officers will also meet with the mall management and its security agency to discuss possible errors or mistakes made in handling the case.

“We will be discussing matters pertaining to security with the Ortigas management and the security agency tasked to man the entire Greenhills in order for us to talk what are the possible lapses made in the security. We have to improve more the security of Greenhills. Let’s avoid the repetition of the incident,” he told CNN Philippines.

Amid the criticisms in handling the hostage crisis, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that President Rodrigo Duterte is “happy” with the efforts of the Philippine National Police and the officials of San Juan, citing that only one got hurt from the incident.