THE Department of Justice has directed the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the fire incident that gutted Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel and Casino along UN Avenue in Manila where five people died.
In a Department Order 160, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered the NBI to “conduct investigation and case build-up over the fire incident which razed the Manila Pavilion Hotel, last 18 March 2018, which led to a number of fatalities and injuries.”
Aguirre also required the agency to “to determine such facts and circumstances that resulted in the unfortunate event.”
The NBI was also ordered to determine the criminal, civil and administrative liability of any agency, office and instrumentality of the government as well as the owners, managers and employees of the Manila Pavilion.
Aguirre also directed the NBI to file appropriate charges against individuals who might be held liable for the incident.
NBI Director Dante Gierran has been instructed to furnish the Office of the Justice Secretary with its activities related to the implementation of his directive.
Supt. Jonas Silvano, District Fire Marshal of Manila-Bureau of Fire Protection, said the fire started at 9:52 a.m. Sunday at the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. area that was under renovation.
The blaze spread to the other areas of the 400-room hotel and lasted for 24 hours until after firefighters were able to check the flames.
In its initial probe, the Bureau of Fire Protection said the fire started on the first floor of the building. But it was still determining the cause of the fire as of Monday.
Official sources said the second floor of the building was being used as the stock room of materials, as the hotel was “under renovation.”
Authorities identified the casualties as Pagcor treasury officer Edilberto Evangelista, assistant treasury officer Marilyn Omadto, security guard Billy Rey de Castro, and closed-circuit television operators Mark John Sabido and Jocris Banang.
Pagcor also confirmed on Monday that another Pagcor employee, Jennilyn Figueroa, who was revived Sunday from the fire, was in critical condition and under continued observation.