THE SUPREME Court (SC) has affirmed the dismissal of the administrative and criminal cases against Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon T. Gatchalian and two other local officials over the Kentex factory fire in May 2015 that killed 72 people and injured several others.
In the decision dated Feb. 10 and published on Tuesday, the High Court said the rulings made by the Court of Appeals and the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan “correctly dismissed the cases for lack of probable cause.”
The two other local government workers cleared were Renchi May M. Padayao and Eduardo Y. Carreon, both of the city’s Business Permits and Licensing Office.
The Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of the Interior and Local Government filed the cases against the three Valenzuela City officials, citing liability for the issuance of a business permit to Kentex Manufacturing Corp. without a Fire Safety Inspection Report (FSIC) from the Bureau of Fire Protection.
The Supreme Court upheld the other court rulings that the city government merely followed procedures provided under various national and local issuances that allow the issuance of business permits before an FSIC is released to streamline systems and ease the delivery of government services. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago