• Tenant to sue Serendra owner

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    THE owner of the condominium unit in Two Serendra at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) where four people were killed following a powerful blast will file charges against the owner of the building, Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI).

    Lawyer Raymond Fortun, counsel for Marianne Cayton-Castillo, on Friday said ALI officials should be held liable for the explosion.

    Fortun, however, said they are still studying what criminal charges should be slapped against the owner.

    “We will send a demand letter first. We will ask for the replacement of the [condominium]unit or its monetary equivalent,” Fortun said.

    He said they will also be asking for actual and moral damages from ALI and its building developer, Makati Development Corp. (MDC) and the Bonifacio Gas Corp. (BGC), the supplier of liquefied petroleum gas to Two Serendra.

    Cayton, owner of Unit 501-B, which was where the explosion happened, said she was disappointed with the findings of the investigation that pointed at her and RM Ladrido construction services as having primary responsibility for the explosion.

    Fortun also refuted the findings of the investigation conducted by the Inter-Agency Task Force and foreign experts.

    “The findings that Marianne Cayton may be held responsible is reckless and a product of inept fact-finding,” Fortun said.

    Interior Secretary Mar Roxas on Wednesday announced the official findings of the Inter-Agency Task Force and foreign experts that conducted parallel investigation in the blast, which was caused by a gas leak.

    Roxas said negligence on the part of the building developer and LPG supplier caused the gas explosion. He explained the gas line of the cooking range at Unit 501-B was repaired by a private contractor.

    However, he said it remained off-normal, or the valve remained open even when the power was off, thus triggering the explosion.
    Gas accumulated in the unit and the explosion was triggered when the occupant that time, Angelito San Juan, switched the light on.

    But Fortun stressed that moving a gas range by eight inches will not result in a loosening of the gas hose.

    “The gas bills during the period or renovation also shows zero gas consumption: ergo, there was no leak caused by the minor movement of the gas range,” he said.

    According to Roxas, also facing possible charges are the owner and caretaker of Unit 501-B, officials of RM Larido Construction Services, which renovated the apartment, and Two Serendra Inc.

    Aside from San Juan, who was only in vacation from the US when he died, three employees of Abenson’s appliance store were killed in the explosion when a huge slab of concrete from Unit 501-B fell across the road below.

    Ritchie A. Horario

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