By MARICAR CINCO, MARRAH ERIKA RABE / INQUIRER.NET
BATANGAS CITY —Jessie Javier Carlos, the gunman in Friday’s attack on Resorts World Manila, was so deep in debt and desperate for cash that he had to sell off anything of value he owned, including the assault rifle he used to shoot up walls and TV screens in the hotel-casino complex. Wilfredo Ablao, village chief of Darasa in Tanauan City in Batangas province, said Carlos offered to sell to him his assault rifle, a Bushmaster M4, for P100,000 but Ablao declined to buy it because he was not into guns. Police said Carlos was armed with an M4 during the attack on Resorts World. No permit? Ablao said he was not sure if Carlos had a permit to own and carry the rifle. “Thinking about it today, I feel guilty. If I had bought the gun, he probably wouldn’t have the guts to attack (Resorts World),” Ablao said. S e c u r i t y fo o t a g e showed Carlos carrying the rifle when he started setting gambling tables on fire and stealing gaming chips. Thirty-seven staff, patrons and guests died from smoke inhalation while Carlos took his own life by burning and shooting himself, police said. Ablao said Carlos had also sought his help in selling a chainsaw, which he described as “heavy-duty and imported.” Carlos, however, lacked documents for the chainsaw so Ablao could not offer it to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Cockfighting Ablao, who manages the cockpit in Barangay Darasa that Carlos frequented, said he last saw Carlos in January when the former Department of Finance (DOF) employee was selling his stuff. Also around that time, Ablao said, Carlos received the last installment, P5 million, for the sale of his 2-hectare farm in Tanauan where he bred fighting cocks. Ablao said he knew about it because he brokered the sale of the property. An earlier report said Carlos acquired the Tanauan farm in 2010 for P4 million. Ablao said the property was sold in November last year for P10 million. “He also sold off some of the fighting cocks, the others he transferred to another location,” Ablao said. The DOF on Sunday confirmed that Carlos had been its employee. It said Carlos was dismissed in 2012 for failing to report all of his assets in his financial disclosure. Despite losing his job, Carlos continued betting heavily in cockfights, Ablao said. He described Carlos as a “very impulsive, heavy bettor.” “He would allow himself to lose P1 million (in cockfights) in just one night,” he said. Another city official, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, said he often saw Carlos in the Tanauan cockpit. “He used to gamble big, [betting from]P100,000 to P500,000,” the official said. Never violent Ablao, who had been friends with Carlos for almost five years, said Carlos had debts to pay. “I was shocked [after learning about the casino incident. He was addicted to gambling but was never a violent man,” Ablao said. He said Carlos showed off his assault rifle to his friends, firing it when they visited him on his farm. Ablao said he once called Carlos’ attention to it. “I told him that if the mayor got wind of it (gun firing), I would not be able to answer for him. He stopped,” Ablao said. He said Carlos once lost big in cockfighting. “He tried the casino and won back a big amount. That’s how it (his casino gambling) began,” he said.