Ayala firms face damage suit for Serendra blast

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Monday, January 6, 2014


THREE companies linked to conglomerate Ayala Corp. are facing P30.2-million damage case before a Pasig City court in relation to the explosion that killed four people last year.

Complainant Marianne Cayton said Monday Alveoland Corp., Makati Development Corp., and Bonifacio Gas Corp. should compensate her for the firm’s failure to ensure a mandatory safety precaution against gas leak, which was the cause of the blast on May 31, 2013.

“Clearly, the defendants again failed to ensure a mandatory safety precaution—that is to maintain the strong odor of the ethyl mercaptan odoriser (characterized by strong unpleasant odor) throughout the distribution system up to the end user, causing the non-detection of the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) accumulation which ended with a fatal explosion,” the complaint stated.

Citing the investigation report of Kroll Associates, a global leader in risk and security consultancy service, Cayton said the piped-in gas system in Bonifacio Global City and Two Serendra are not attuned to international standards and the Fire Code of the Philippines.

These include the lack of fixed positioning and hard-wiring of all sensors to avoid user intervention, fail-safe (fail-closed) sensor-valve system, involvement of a suitably qualified chemist or chemical engineer in the supply chain design and prevention of unauthorized person access to equipment, among others.

Kroll also reported that the escaped LPG vapor remained undetected for approximately 13 hours.

“Despite the glaring negligent acts and omissions of herein defendants, the lawful demands for recompense made by herein plaintiff (Cayton), through counsel, for the destruction of her unit all but remained ignored and completely unheeded,” the complaint read.

Specifically, Cayton asked the companies to replace her damaged Unit 501-B with a two-bedroom dwelling in another Ayala project with a market value of not less than P20 million or its monetary equivalent.

Five million pesos each must go to moral and exemplary damages, P200,000 for attorney’s fees and P5,000 for every court appearance of Cayton’s lawyers.

Earlier, Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said among those who may be charged for negligence are Cayton, the contractor that repaired the gas line of the cooking range, officials of Two Serendra Inc., Bonifacio Gas and MDC.

Three of the employees of an appliance dealer died when their delivery truck was hit by a concrete slab that was thrown out by the powerful blast. The fourth victim, Angelito San Juan, died five weeks after at a hospital.

San Juan rented the unit from May 31 to June 8, 2013. (Sunnex)

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