SURVIVORS and relatives of the victims of the Kentex factory fire in Valenzuela City asked the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate two Cabinet officials and eight other officials for possible liability over the May 13 fire that killed 72 workers.

The survivors, led by the Kentex Workers Alliance, filed a complaint against Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, and others for their alleged negligence.

But Malacanang shrugged off Monday the filing of administrative and criminal charges, saying the Aquino administration is more focused now on addressing the concerns of those who were left behind by the fire.

In their complaint, the survivors and victims' relatives said that the agencies headed by Roxas and Baldoz failed to ensure safe work conditions for the workers of the slipper factory.

Aside from Roxas and Baldoz, complaints were also filed against Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) National Capital Region (NCR) Director Alex Avila, Dole-NCR Labor Compliance Officer Engineer Joseph Vedasto, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) fire chief Director Ariel Barayuga, BFP-NCR director Senior Superintendent Sergio Malupeng Soriano Jr., Valenzuela City fire marshal Superintendent Mel Jose Lagan, and Fire Safety Enforcement Section chief Ed Groover Oculam.

Remigio Saladero Jr., legal counsel of the survivors and victims' families, said the BFP is being sued for its delay in releasing the report on factory's failure to comply with safety standards.

In the complaint, the survivors asked Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to investigate the fire for the formal filing of criminal and administrative charges against the concerned officials.

Saladero said the victim's families were also set to file criminal charges for estafa and reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and physical injury against Kentex officials before the City Prosecutors' Office in Valenzuela on Friday.

The survivors and victim's families decided not to include the local government officials of Valenzuela City even if Roxas initially said that some local officials led by Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian could be among those who would be charged for the death of 72 Kentex workers.

Saladero said the complainants took note of the local officials' kindness toward them after the fire.

Last week, President Benigno Aquino III blamed the local government of Valenzuela City for granting a business permit and certificate of occupancy to the Kentex factory despite its non-compliance of safety standards and apparent violations of the Fire Code.

In a press briefing Monday, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda expressed confidence that Baldoz and Roxas could address the complaints.

"What we are very confident is that the secretary of Labor and Employment and secretary of DILG, Mar Roxas, will be able to address those concerns. I am confident that they will be able to respond to those allegations and hindi po kami nababahala doon sa mga kasong isinampa ng abugado," Lacierda said.

He said the Department of Justice (DOJ) continues with the investigation.

"So once a report is concluded and the DOJ will do the appropriate action with respect to the Kentex fire," he said. (With SDR/Sunnex)