Engineer’s Office probe on collapse of second floor taking so long

City Administrator Wendel Avisado confirmed no report has reached the city mayor yet, eight days after the incident killed three workers, including a father and son, and injured three others along Dakudao, Agdao.

Avisado said he will ask the City Engineers' Office to prepare and submit its report as soon as possible. "We will put to task the City Engineers Office to submit the results of its investigation to erase doubts on the incident.”

The possibility of a whitewash is "far-fetched,” he said, adding he was told the probe has proceeded into looking at "documentary requirements.”

Avisado said they are open to a possible probe on the possible culpability of the City Engineers' Office (CEO).

Engr. Joaquin Cui, CEO building official, said the investigation is not yet complete and would take time even if Engr. Gloria Lumapas, Chief Enforcement Officer of the Building Permit Division told reporters the probe would be completed within two days from the time of incident.

Cui told MindaNews Wednesday afternoon Lumapas might have meant an ocular investigation, a component of the probe which could be contested by the construction engineers.

He said they are doing structural investigations involving computations of materials and methods used.

But he said they are dependent on inputs the project's construction engineers could provide them.

Cui said they have already contacted Engr. John Ang, the project head, but revealed no details on the engineer's responses.

He said the design engineer is yet to furnish them a copy of the building design.

Cui said it is the court that could determine criminal liability of the building owners and contractors based on the National Building Code.

But he said the contractors have complied with the law's requirements, including obtaining a building permit, issued on November 6. A construction worker, however, told MindaNews last week that construction started on September 20.

Cui stressed to reporters the CEO is far from liable, citing the building was still under construction and they have not issued a certificate of occupancy.

He said it is the building owner and the engineer who could be liable, stressing the problem was a failure of  "method of construction."  

Five Star Surplus and Hardware, Inc., with a store beside the construction site, owns the building.  

Virginia Capote, sister in law of Ursino Capote, 58, one of three victims killed, said the CEO could also be blamed because it is their job to ensure that buildings are constructed well.

"Nagkulang sila. Sila gud ang authority diha," (They have a shortcoming. They are supposed to be the authority on that) she told MindaNews a day after the incident. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)