No proof of sabotage in Pililla tragedy

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The contractor that employed the workers who were killed when a four-story-high metal scaffolding collapsed inside the smokestack of a power plant in Pililla, Rizal, may end up not being charged in court.

According to Chief Inspector Resty Soriano, Pililla police chief, nothing in their investigation has so far suggested that the Feb. 3 incident was the result of sabotage so they could not file charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries against East West Works Industrial Services Inc.

“When you say ‘reckless imprudence,’ it means that somebody sabotaged something. It’s difficult to establish [the contractor’s] criminal liability at this time,” Soriano said.

The police will wrap up their inquiry into the incident Monday.

Five workers of East West Works were killed while 12 others were injured after part of the metal scaffolding they were working on as they cleaned the inside of the 70-meter-high, eight-meter-wide smokestack of the SPC Malaya Powerplant collapsed.

While Soriano acknowledged that the injured and kin of the dead victims could initiate the filing of criminal charges against the contractor, no one has yet done so.

He said this may be due to the financial assistance extended to the victims by the contractor.

“We’ve been waiting for any one of them to [file charges] but so far, nothing,” Soriano added.

But in spite of the police finding that the incident was not caused by sabotage, there were lapses on the part of the contractor as shown by the results of their investigation, he said.

However, he clarified that these were not criminal in nature so the sanctions against the firm, should there be any, would come from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The labor department is conducting a separate inquiry into whether or not the contractor complied with labor standards and implemented the necessary measures specified by the law to ensure the safety of its workers.

So far, DOLE Region 4-A Director Alex Avila said that the contractor was not registered with the department and does not have any existing construction and safety and health program  approved by DOLE.

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Tags: industrial accidents , labor accidents , Metro , News

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