DOJ hears complaints against Kentex officials

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Department of Justice (DOJ) started its preliminary inquiry on Monday (February 22) into the fire that razed the Kentex rubber slipper factory that left at least 72 people dead nine months ago.

The preliminary hearing aims to establish the legitimacy of the criminal complaints against the owners of the company.

The owners were charged with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries, as well as falsifying documents required to operate a business.

Relatives of least 15 of the victims, including two survivors, filed the complaints.

Prepared to defend

Kentex officials were represented by Atty. Renato Paraiso who says that they are prepared to defend their position in court.

"We are confident right now that we have all the defences available to us, particularly with regards to the primary cause of the fire," said Paraiso. "We didn't cause the fire that occurred."

The attorney also said they have compensated 98 percent of the victims' relatives.

"Right now we're at 98 percent ... these are the few people that think that they have some rights against us and we respect those opinions," said Paraiso. "But again were prepared, we prepared for this and we expected this."

Most of the victims were trapped inside the building that was destroyed by the fire in Valenzuela in May last year.

The said blaze was one of the worst to hit the country since 162 people died in the O-Zone disco bar in 1996 and a hotel tire fire in 2001 that killed 75 people, both in Quezon City.

Related: Emotional struggles in accepting Kentex settlement money