MARIANNE Cayton, owner of unit 501 in Two Serendra condominium hit by an explosion on May 31, on Monday filed a P30.2-million damage complaint against property developer Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) for gross negligence resulting in the gas leak blast.
Accompanied by her legal counsel lawyer Raymund Fortun, the US-based Cayton formally filed the civil suit against ALI subsidiaries and affiliates such as Alveo Land Corp., Bonifacio Gas Corp., and Makati Development Corp. before the Pasig City Prosecutor’s Office.
In a 24-page complaint, Fortun said Cayton demands for either the replacement of her unit, if not possible the ALI would pay the value of that unit which is P20 million.
“She’s [Mrs. Cayton] also asking for exemplary damages and moral damages of at least P10 million. Mrs. Cayton firmly believes that she has a basis for suing Ayala Corp. for negligence which give rise and which resulted in the explosion last May 31,” Fortun added.
The property developer, the lawyer said, have been charged of gross negligence based on the report submitted by Kroll Advisory Solutions Asia tasked to investigate the explosion before the Department of Interior and Local Government.
In a three-part final report dated August 22, 2013, Kroll claimed that the “explosion resulted from the pressure wave of a high speed deflagration, caused by the ignition of escaped liquefied petroleum gas [LPG] vapor mixed with air.”
“This report clearly shows the series of negligent act as well as sub-standard equipment and specifications of the piping system at Two Serendra and which is the reason why there was the undetected gas leak in that unit which lead to the explosion,” Fortun said.
Cayton, he said, was forced to file a case when her letter seeking compensation for the damages caused by the explosion, was ignored by the property developer.
“They [Ayala Corp.] paid no heed to Mrs. Cayton’s demand [for the compensation]. She has no other option but to pursue the case,” Fortun said.
Fortun, however, explained that the case was filed in Pasig City because all the complaints filed at the Taguig City courts were filed at the Pasig City.
The Cayton camp has expressed openness for the settlement of the case. Fortun said they always want a speedy resolution to this case, but if the Ayala Corp. doesn’t want to settle all things out—they are ready to fight the case until the end.
“In fact, I would like this case be finished up to its conclusion. This is a landmark case. It is important for people to learn something in this incident. It is good that somehow property developers would now be put to pass and would now understand that they should always put the safety and security of their customers,” he said.
Cayton also expressed dismay as the Ayala Corp. is pushing the liability [of the renovation of the unit]to her.
The May 31 gas leak explosion left four people dead including Cayton’s family friend and tenant Angelito San Juan who died from cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to multiple organ failure after months of confinement in the hospital.
The Two Serendra condominium uses a centralized piped-in LPG system.