PNP probes liability of supermarket owner in building collapse

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection group is looking into the possible liability of the Chuzon Supermarket in the collapse of its four-story building during the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck Luzon on April 22.

“Sa ngayon wala pang na-file na kaso. Lahat ng complainant, their statements are being taken by the CIDG at we are preparing to file a case kapag nakuha na lahat ‘yung mga statements ng mga gustong mag-file at saka ‘yung mga complainants natin,” PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said in an interview on Thursday, April 25.

(As of now, no case has been filed. CIDG is taking the statements of all the complainants. We will file a case once we have all the statements of those who want to press charges.)

“Una meron silang mga liability. Whether mag-file o hindi ng criminal case ‘yung mga tao dito, of course ‘yung civil liability number 1 yan. Siguradong meron yan, kahit na hindi sila mag-file ng criminal case. Reckless imprudence ‘yung nangyari dyan. It's because probably substandard ‘yung building nila but then of course meron din mananagot doon sa local officials dahil kung bakit sila nagkaroon ng permit at kung nag-violate sila ng building code, ‘yung strength of materials kung may violation din doon,” he said.

(First, they have civil liability. That is certain, even if no criminal case is filed. What happened was due to reckless imprudence. It's probably because the building was substandard. In that case, the local officials who issued the permit would have to answer. We will also determine if there was violation of the Building Code.)

Albayalde said the CIDG already interviewed the owner of the supermarket and asked him to submit pertinent documents which will be necessary for the ongoing investigation.

The police is coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which is also investigating the matter particularly on the structural capability and components of the building.

Albayalde was among the government officials who inspected the areas hit by the strong April 22 earthquake.

He said authorities will not stop the search, rescue and retrieval operations at the Chuzon Supermarket as 14 persons remain missing.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the temporary closure of all Chuzon Supermarket pending the inspection of its establishments. (SunStar Philippines)


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