Criminal cases were filed yesterday by the Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force (IATF) before the City Prosecutor’s Office against 33 individuals implicated in the Dec. 23 NCCC Mall fire that killed 38.
City Prosecutor Nestor Ledesma is set to create a panel of prosecutors, which he will lead, to conduct the preliminary investigation in the complicated crime.
“The investigating prosecutors will issue a subpoena to the respondents or the persons impleaded in the complaint,” lawyer Robert Michael Razon, a senior assistant regional prosecutor who is an IATF member, told reporters in a media briefing.
The subpoena will give the individuals 10 days from receipt to file a counter-affidavit.
Charges filed were reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries, violation of the Fire Code of the Philippines, and falsification of documents.
A case for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act was also included.
Named respondents in the reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries were NCCC Mall officers and employees identified as Helen Lim, Lafayette Lim, Ivy Michelle Lim, Sharlene Faye Lim, Ivan Spencer Lim, Julie Ann Lim, and Ramon del Castillo.
Also charged with the same offense were SSI Philippines, Inc. officers identified as Jose Antonio San Gabriela, Riza Lyn Ocampo, Rey Roble, Christopher Fanning, and David Ian Weatherseed.
Arturo Arrojado, Carmeli Arrojado, Maria Lilibeth Olarte, Danna Patricia Arrrojado, Carmen Paluga, Engr. Wilson Velasquez of AC Rockport Cons. & Dev’t Corp. are also facing the same case.
For violations on the Fire Code of the Philippines, charged were Sr. Insp. Jeanny Calvario, SFO4 Dioscoro Baja Jr., SFO2 Joel Quismundo, SFO1 Roger Dumag, and SFO1 Leo Lauzon. Arvin Tero, an officer of Philippine Economic Zone Authority, was also included.
Quismundo, Lauzon, and Tero were also charged for falsification of documents.
Named respondents in the anti-graft and corrupt practices act were City Building Official Jouaquin Cui, and PEZA officers Sansaluna Pinagaya, Nicasio Mamites, and Darlyn Nazareno
Fire officers — Supt. Carlo Dueñas, Sr. Insp. Jeanny Calvario, Insp. Renero Jimenez, SFO4 Dioscoro M. Baja Jr., SFO2 Joel Quismundo, SFO1 Roger B. Dumag, and SFO1 Leo Lauzon — were also filed the same. Tero was also charged.
The IATF took eight months to file the case before the prosecutor’s office, attributing the delay to the voluminous documents and complexity of the cases.
Figurasin said the final investigation report was finalized by March, and was still reviewed by the NBI.
Clamoring for justice, families of the victims are seeking a copy of the investigation report as they plan to file separate civil case.
At least three families of the fire victims who attended the meeting with the IATF yesterday sought for copies of the investigation report.
Razon said it is possible that more respondents will be added depending on the result of the preliminary investigation.