Philippines: Criminal charges filed against Valenzuela mayor, 6 other city officials & company owner for 2015 Kentex factory fire that killed 74 & injured dozens

Author: Jaime Sinapit, Interaksyon (Philippines), Published on: 15 March 2016

“Valenzuela Mayor Gatchalian, 7 others ordered charged over Kentex fire”, 15 Mar 2016

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered criminal charges filed against Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian and seven other persons for the May 13, 2015 Kentex factory fire that claimed 74 lives.

Morales said…there is probable cause to charge Gatchalian, Ong King Guan alias Terence King Ong, owner of Kentex Manufacturing Corporation, and six city officials -- fire marshal Mel Jose Lagan, Senior Inspector Edgrover Oculam, fire safety inspectors Rolando Avendan and Ramon Maderazo, Renchi May Padayao, officer-in-charge of the Business Permits and Licensing Office, and licensing officer Eduardo Carreon -- for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicides and multiple physical injuries, and violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Morales said their investigation showed that the city officials issued business permits and fire safety certificates to Kentex despite blatant violations of the Fire Code, such as failing to “install a wet standpipe system, unserviceable extinguishers, lack of automatic fire alarm and sprinkler system, and absence of fire exit drills for workers.”…

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