Contradicting Philippines police's assertion, a top lawmaker in the country and a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte has termed the Manila casino attack as a "lone-wolf" terrorist act. Pantaleon Alvarez, speaker of the lower house of Congress, said he was not convinced the incident was just a botched robbery.
"This is a clear example of a 'lone wolf' terrorist attack targeting civilians to inflict maximum loss of life and damage to property, as what has happened in other countries," Reuters quoted Alvarez as saying.
At least 36 people were killed when after a gunman stormed into Resorts World Manila entertainment complex near the Philippines capital Manila early on Friday (2 June). The gunman opened fire on the people in the complex, torched casino tables and also ransacked the casino's gambling chips worth $2.3m (£1.78m) before setting himself on fire in one of the Maxims Hotel rooms.
The Philippines National Police had said the attack was merely an armed robbery attempt and ruled out the possibility of terrorism angle, although the Islamic State (Isis) militant group claimed responsibility for it.
"Our authorities should get their act together and put in place the highest level of security measures to prevent this to happen again, here or elsewhere in the country," Alvarez said. "This incident should be a wake-up call for the police and the military to cooperate closely in making the seat of government and our financial and business centre safe from any terrorist attack."
The unidentified attacker later killed himself in a room at the hotel section of the Resorts World Manila complex.
Police are investigating a second "person of interest" who was reportedly present in the casino at the time of the incident.
The attack spread panic in the Philippines as it is on high alert after Duterte declared martial law in the southern part of the country on 23 May.
Duterte's spokesman, Ernesto Abella, however, said on Friday that there was no proof that the attack was linked to siege in Marawi city in Mindanao island, where Filipino troops are battling with Islamic militants to regain the city.
"We must draw up a clear and better plan to secure Metro Manila and other urban centres from IS-linked groups that we already know will attempt to kill and maim in pursuit of their jihadist ideology," Alvarez said.