Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian posted P90,000 bail on Friday for his provisional liberty in connection with the graft charges filed against him and several others for allegedly allowing Kentex Manufacturing Corp. to operate with “inadequate” fire safety measures.
Gatchalian, who is also facing charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicides and physical injuries at the Sandiganbayan’s Second Division, maintained that the city did not do anything wrong since it only followed the memorandum circular issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
“From the time that the fire happened, we were not the ones who adjusted. It was the Bureau of Fire that adjusted because under the Memo Circular, we will provide a provisional business permit and the Bureau of Fire will give us a negative list or businesses that do not comply (with requirements),” the mayor said.
Charged along with Gatchalian were Renchi Padayao, former Officer-in-Charge of the Business Permits and Licensing Office, Eduardo Carreon, former Licensing Officer, and private individual Ong King Guan a.k.a Terence King Ong, the general manager and treasurer of Kentex.
According to the Ombudsman, a business permit was issued to Kentex in 2015, “despite its delinquent status and without requiring a Fire Safety Inspection Certificate.”
It further alleged that the respondents failed to revoke the permit after the firm failed to submit the requirements within the prescribed period.
At least 74 workers died when a fire razed the Kentex compound last year.