Serendra blast victim to be flown to US after Manila wake
MANILA, Philippines – The remains of Angelito San Juan, the fourth fatality of the Two Serendra's May 31 explosion, will be flown to the United States either on Sunday, July 7, or Monday, July 8, depending on when customs will clear it for flight.
According to the victim's lawyer, Raymond Fortun, San Juan's wake is ongoing in Pasig City. It arrived at the funeral home at 2 pm on Thursday, July 4, over 12 hours after he died. The wake is closed to the media upon the request of the family.
The 63-year-old San Juan was visiting from the United States to attend a wedding, and was renting Unit 501 in Two Serendra for 9 days. He was on his way out of the apartment when it exploded due to a gas leak, injuring 3 others. San Juan died from cardiac arrest over a month after the blast.
In a statement, Serendra developer Ayala Land Inc (ALI) said it had assured San Juan's family of "continued support until he is laid to rest, including providing for the transfer of his remains to the United States where he is based."
"It is with regret that even with our assistance to extend to him the best medical care for his condition, he was not able to survive the incident," it read.
ALI covered the hospital expenses of San Juan, who had been confined since the blast 5 weeks ago, and had been incubated at St Luke's Hospital in Taguig City.
Investigators have yet to determine the source of the gas leak, and with it, liability.
ALI also said it had been in touch with Ruben San Juan, the victim's brother, and Herminia Ochoa, his friend, throughout San Juan's confinement. Both Ruben and Ochoa cared for San Juan in the hospital.
Fortun, who earlier said there had not been any contact from ALI, clarified that ALI had not reached out to Marianne Cayton, the owner of Unit 501. Cayton is also a client of Fortun.
"Not a single word since the blast," he told Rappler. "Neither Ms Ochoa nor Ruben San Juan represent Marianne Cayton."
He said Cayton is concerned about the slow pace of the investigation. She is awaiting the results before deciding whether or not to file a case against ALI.
"That is why she is fearful of a cover-up because the longer the investigation takes, the more the possibility that the outcome can be altered to favor a concerned party," he said.
But presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda gave assurances the investigation would not be influenced, and that the government will get to the bottom of the explosion, including who to blame.
Fortun said San Juan's family had not yet discussed legal options either and had not made "any plans beyond making arrangements for the funeral."
As of now, Fortun said ALI has not offered San Juan's family cash in exchange for giving up their right to sue. The families of the two who died in the blast have accepted settlement offers made by Ayala. But the family of Abenson driver Jeffrey Umali has so far refused, saying what ALI is offering is not sufficient, compared to the loss suffered by their family. – Rappler.com