Valenzuela mayor faces criminal charges for deadly Kentex fire in May

A SIX-MAN panel of prosecutors on Thursday recommended the filing of criminal and administrative complaint against Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian and six other individuals in connection with the fire that killed 72 people during the fire on May 13 at the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. in Valenzuela City.

The panel headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Roberto Lao said preliminary investigation should be conducted against Terrence King Ong, operations manager of Kentex; Oscar Romero and Wilmer Arenal employees of Ace Shutter Corp. (the company that undertook the welding work at Kentex); and Rosalina Uy Ngo, owner of Ace Shutter Corp., for reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code.

The panel said a similar complaint will be filed against the other owners of Kentex identified as Ong King Guan and Beato Ang “in the event that further investigation on their management responsibilities and administrative functions reveals equal culpability on the safety of the establishment” together with Terrence.

The panel also recommended the filing of graft charges, as well as violation of Section 11.2.a. (4) and (5) of Republic Act  9514, or the Fire Code of th Philippines,  against Gatchalian.

The panel also found liable for graft  lawyer Renchi May Padayao, officer in charge of Valenzuela’s Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO); Eduardo Carreo, licensing officer IV of BPLO; Fire Supt. Mel Jose Lagan; Fire Senior Insp. Edgrover Oculam and Senior Fire Officer 2 Rolando Avendan.

The panel recommended the conduct of preliminary investigation for violation of the provisions of the Fire Code against Padayao, Carreon, Lagan, Oculam and Avendan.

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