Ayala firms held liable for Serendra blast
MANILA, Philippines - It was a night everything went wrong. But it’s not just about chance - it’s mostly about negligence.
4 months after the Serendra blast, the government is pointing fingers - not just at the unit owners - but also at 3 Ayala firms.
Bea Cupin reports.
Hindi na natin papayagan ang bahala na o okay na, lalo na sa maseselang system tulad nitong vaporized distribution system ng gas. (We will not allow negligence when it comes to something like a vaporized distribution system.)
A series of unfortunate events and negligence caused the Two Serendra explosion on May 31, 2013.
An inter-agency task force led by the Interior department and a private company say the explosion was caused by the leak and accumulation of gas inside Unit 501B.
Roxas says the leak was caused when a gas range was moved without "unauthorization" during renovations.
Safety devices inside the unit — a leak detector and a gas valve — failed to work.
Add to that, the building's sole leak detector also failed to go off.
Why didn't residents smell the leaking gas?
The investigation finds Two Serendra gas supplier Bonifacio Gas Corp lacking in technical competence.
In the process of vaporizing, nawalala yung odorant. Nawalala yung baho, yung amoy ng mercaptan kaya marahil hindi naamoy ang na-leak na gas na ito. (In the process of vaporizing, the odorant was lost. The smell of mercaptan disappears. Maybe that’s why [residents] did not detect the leak.)
Four people died as a result of the blast — 3 Abenson employees, and Angelito San Juan, the guest occupant of Unit 501B.
Found liable are the unit owners and caretaker, construction company RM Ladrido, Two Serendra, Bonifacio Gas Corp., and Makati Dev’t Corp.
But the DILG stops short of recommending charges against the 4.
Roxas says it is beyond their mandate.
Ito ang kauna-unahang pangyayari na ganitong klase sa ating bansa, kaya doon kami nagfocus sa science. Ano ba nangyari dito at ano ang contributing elements? Now whether these contributing elements constitute legal liability, mas mabuti yung abogado gumawa nun. (It’s the first time something like this happened in the country. We focused on the science, the contributing elements. Now whether these contributing elements constitute legal liability, we leave that to the lawyers.)
He says it is up to the justice department to file charges. Tower B of Two Serendra can now be returned to its unit owners.
TWO SERENDRA HOMEOWNERS ASSOC
As far as I'm concerned, it's time for people to move on. I'm just glad that we have closure.
But it might not be “business as usual” right away.
TWO SERENDRA HOMEOWNERS ASSOC
I know one who didn't want to come back anymore. Some of them are taking psychiatric help, even now.
The Serendra blast probe officially ends with the findings.
But will the shock waves continue to reverberate for top condo developer Ayala Land which calls itself a trusted name in urban land development?
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Manila. - Rappler.com