Manor Hotel fire case to keep burning vs former QC exec
The Sandiganbayan Seventh Division has rejected the appeal of former Quezon City engineer and building official Alfredo Macapugay to dismiss his graft case in connection with the deadly Manor Hotel fire in 2001.
In a resolution, the antigraft court disagreed with Macapugay’s insistence that his alleged role in the fire had nothing to do with his duty as city engineer, which falls under the Sandiganbayan’s jurisdiction.
Macapugay, in his appeal on the court’s Jan. 27 resolution, invoked City Ordinance Nos. SP-440, series of 1996 and SP-639, series of 1998.
The ordinances created the Office of the Building Official headed by an Assistant Building Official, a position which, unlike the city building official, is not the city engineer’s concurrent role.
But the court observed that Macapugay did not even “raise any further discussion as to how or why QC SP-440 and QC SP-639 support his motion for reconsideration,” and only asked that it take judicial notice of the ordinances.
The resolution noted that both measures had already been repealed by City Ordinance No. SP-1517, series of 2005, which mandates that the Office of the Building Official be headed by the city engineer serving concurrently as building official.
“Accordingly, accused’s motion for reconsideration, being based on a long repealed ordinance has no legal basis and must be denied,” the resolution read.
Even if the earlier ordinances were not repealed, the court said, they were invalid for being contrary to provisions of the Local Government Code mandating that the city engineer act as city building official.
Macapugay was accused of graft for allowing the owners of Manor Hotel to continue doing business from 1999 to 2001 even after the city fire marshal had recommended its closure. On Aug. 18, 2001, a fire gutted the hotel and killed 74 guests, most of whom were trapped in rooms with steel-barred windows.
In April 2015, the court’s Fifth Division sentenced Macapugay to a prison term of six to 10 years for graft in connection with the Ozone Disco Club inferno that killed at least 162 on March 19, 1996.