Tighter mall security urged after 'Batman' shooting

Posted at 07/22/12 5:52 PM

MANILA, Philippine -- Malacanang on Sunday has ordered tighter security at all shopping malls after what it called the "senseless killings" of 12 people at a screening of the latest Batman movie in the United States.

A 17-year-old Filipino-American was among the 58 people wounded Friday when a gunman went on the rampage at a movie house in Aurora, Colorado.

"Well, kami po ay nakikiisa in condemning the senseless killings po dito sa nangyari sa Denver, Colorado," presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda told government radio, adding that the government hopes that similar incidents won't happen in the country.

"We are asking mall operators to have security guards thoroughly search bags... in order that we can avoid a similar incident," he said.

"The Dark Knight Rises," the last installment in the Batman trilogy from director Christopher Nolan, opened in Philippine theaters last Thursday, one day ahead of its US debut.

"We hope and pray that he will recover from the gunshot wounds," Lacierda said of the FIl-Am teenager, whom the local press named as Ryan Lumba.

Lumba was in hospital after being shot in the stomach, said Lacierda.

There are about 1.1 million unlicensed firearms across the Philippines, the police estimate. Some are in the hands of insurgent and crime groups in the troubled south.

Politicians are also known to control "private armies" that contribute to the culture of impunity in the country, rights groups say. -- With reports from Agence France-Presse