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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Roxas, Baldoz face raps for fire

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INTERIOR Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz are facing administrative and criminal charges for the May 13 fire at the Kentex slipper factory in Valenzuela City that killed at least 72 people.

The relatives and survivors of the fire, represented by Remegio Saladero Jr., also sued National Capital Region director Alex Avila and Labor Law Compliance director Joseph Vedasto of the Department of Labor and Employment, Bureau of Fire Protection officer in charge Alex Barayuga, Metro Manila’s Senior Supt. Sergio Soriano Jr., Valenzuela City’s Supt. Mel Jose Lagan,  and fire safety enforcement section chief Ed Groover Ocullam.

The complainants filed the criminal and administrative charges against the accused before the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday.

They urged Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to investigate the accountability of the respondents in the case.

The victims made their move even as Malacañang said Monday it was not worried about the charges filed against Roxas and Baldoz.

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“What we are confident about is that [Baldoz and Roxas] will be able to respond to those allegations. We are not worried about the cases filed by the lawyer [of the complainants,” Lacierda said.              

A week ago, Morales said a motu propio fact-finding investigation into the Kentex fire was already being conducted.

The families of the victims were carrying a big slipper to dramatize their call for justice.

Forty-nine of the survivors blamed the BFP, which is under the Interior Department, for its failure to file complaints or report that Kentex had failed the fire safety inspections in 2014 and 2015.

Saladero said the complainants wanted the Ombudsman to “seek the formal investigation and the filing of appropriate charges” such as homicide, physical injuries and neglect in the performance of duties.

Labor officials were sued over the issuance of a certificate of compliance to Kentex Manufacturing Co.  on Sept. 18, 2014.

“We have no other choice but to seek the assistance of your good office so that we could obtain the justice that we seek,” the complainants said in their letter-complaint to the Ombudsman.

            

               

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