“We dare Carpio-Morales to investigate the said officials and file charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and physical injury, as well as negligence of duty.”
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) challenged today, February 3, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales who has described herself as being apolitical and her office as being independent. The Ombudsman has also recently called on Filipinos to vote for candidates whose integrity is unblemished. The KMU asked her to put her money where her mouth is, and start taking action on workers’ administrative complaints in relation to the Kentex factory fire.
The complaint, filed nearly eight months ago, is asking her office to investigate former Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) NCR Director Alex Avila, DOLE NCR Labor Compliance Officer Engineer Joseph Vedasto, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Chief Director Ariel Barayuga, BFP NCR director Senior Supt. Sergio Malupeng Soriano Jr., Valenzuela City fire marshal Supt. Mel Jose Lagan, and chief of the Fire Safety Enforcement Section Chief Ed Groover Oculam. New complainants submitted their papers at the Ombudsman a month after the first complaint was filed.
To date, Carpio-Morales has not yet acted on the said administrative complaints filed by survivors and families of victims of the Kentex factory fire. These concern the death of more than 72 workers who were trapped in the factory, which was certified as labor, fire safety and occupational safety-compliant.
“We dare Carpio-Morales to investigate the said officials and file charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and physical injury, as well as negligence of duty,” said Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary general.
The labor group finds it “most revolting” that the administrative case filed by the victims’ families and survivors has not been acted upon more than eight months since the fatal factory fire. Adonis said that for companies that violate safety standards in the workplace and government officials who collude with companies on that matter, the case filed by Kentex fire survivors has vast implications.