DAVAO CITY, Philippines — At least eight personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) of Davao City Fire District and officials of NCCC mall could face legal charges following the tragic NCCC mall fire, an official said.
“There are at least eight BFP personnel, retired and active that could possibly be filed a case,” Senior Superintendent Jerry Candido, spokesperson of the Interagency Anti-Arson Task Force said on Wednesday, January 10.
Candido however, did not name them, pointing out that the task force is still waiting for the completion of all necessary documents needed in the investigation.
“We cannot yet drop names because we are still trying to retrieve all documents from 2003 until the day that the fire occurred in the NCCC mall,” Candido said.
“Now no matter how strong our suspicion maybe that there is a violation, without the documents it’s unfair to name people because we don’t have evidence,” he added.
Five BFP officials were relieved from their post last December 31 as recommended by the task force.
Candido also cited that they are still looking into those who signed pertinent documents such as fire safety inspectors, chief of the fire of safety enforcement section and the fire marshal who issued the fire safety certificates of the mall.
The task force already had the proposed building plan but Candido said what they want to see is the ‘as-built plan’ of the NCCC mall to see the actual status of fire safety requirements like emergency exits since the mall operated.
Meanwhile, the task force is also eyeing to file charges against mall owners since there are ‘clear violations’ in the building.
“There’s a possibility because they cannot deny that 38 persons died and that death was primarily because of the violations of the building. The provisions on automatic fire suppression system and fire detection and alarm system are the primary responsibility, in accordance of the Fire Code, of the NCCC Mall and not the SSI (Survey Sampling International),” Candido said.
“They have the primary responsibility to ensure that the building has the requirements. It’s not a remote possibility. Whatever it is, we will look at it after the completion of the report,” he added.
Candido said they are also on the process of identifying the official from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) who issued an occupancy permit to the SSI office.
“SSI structure does not have an automatic fire suppression system which is in violation of the Fire Code. If they are alleging that they are also basing their inspection using the Fire Code, then why did they allow operation when there is no automatic fire suppression system and their alarm system is not interconnected with the mall?” Candido said.
He noted that they are targeting to gather and submit all the documents by Friday so that they will be able to finalize the report of the investigation. (davaotoday.com)