Kin of Kentex workers sue DOLE, BFP, DILG officials

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The family of Kentex fire victims filed administrative and criminal complaints against top officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) before the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday morning (June 8).

The complaints were filed by Remigio Saladero, legal counsel of Justice for Kentex Workers, an alliance formed by families of the fire victims, the survivors, and their supporters.

Related: DOLE also liable in Kentex footwear factory fire

Around 50 survivors and family of victims were also present.

Saladero gave some information on the cases filed on Monday in an interview with CNN Philippines anchor Amelyn Veloso, which aired over Headline News.

He said complaints were filed against eight government officials:

  • Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz
  • DOLE-National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) Director Alex Avila
  • DOLE-NCR labor compliance officer Joseph Vedasto
  • Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II
  • BFP chief Director Ariel Barayuga
  • BFP-NCR Director Sergio Soriano
  • BFP Fire Safety Enforcement Section chief Sr. Insp. Ed-groover Oculam
  • Valenzuela City fire marshal Supt. Mel Jose Lagan

Related: Complaints filed against 8 gov't officials over Kentex fire

The complainants requested Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to investigate whether these officials could be held liable, criminally or administratively, for the fire that gutted a factory of Kentex Manufacturing Corp. in Valenzuela last May 13, causing the death of 72 workers.

If found liable, the officials could face criminal charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries, the lawyer explained.

An administrative charge of neglect in the performance of official duties or functions could also be filed for "condoning the Kentex management’s occupational health and safety standards violations," a statement released by the alliance on Sunday (June 7) read.

Valenzuela officials also liable

Saladero clarified that the alliance also planned to sue local government officials of Valenzuela City.

But they later decided against it after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced it would pursue cases against the city officials.

Related: Valenzuela mayor could face raps over Kentex fire

"So we decided that we as well leave the filing of cases against the local government officials to the DILG and just concentrate on the officials of the DOLE and the BFP."

The alliance will also file complaints against the owners of Kentex later in the week.

Related: DOLE finds labor violations at Kentex's main office

"We are just waiting for the identification of the victims by the police to be completed," Saladero said in Filipino.

Related: 63 Kentex fire victims identified

Once completed, a criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide will be filed along with violations on the minimum wage law and the failure to remit social security contributions, which according to Saladero is tantamount to estafa.

CNN Philippines' AC Nicholls contributed to this report.