MANILA, Philippines – “Pag-isipan din nilang magsampa ng kaso laban sa Ayala.” (They should consider filing charges against Ayala.)
Myla Umali, wife of one of the Serendra blast victims, shared these thoughts upon learning about the death of Angelito San Juan, the tenant of Unit 501 Two Serendra, early Thursday, July 4.
San Juan, 63, was one of the 4 injured in the May 31 blast at Serendra in Taguig City that killed Umali’s husband Jeffrey Umali and 2 other outsourced employees of Abenson.
Umali said San Juan’s family should not readily accept any compensation that developer Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) might offer them.
“Siyempre pareho lang ang pagkamatay noong tenant sa buhay ng asawa ko. Natural dapat mag-isip rin sila na magsampa ng kaso,” Umali said. (The tenant’s death is similar to my husband’s. Naturally, they should also think of filing charges.)
Umali has remained firm in her decision not to settle with Ayala despite the company’s offer of P1 million and educational plans for her two children, 4-year-old JM and Ella, who’s only 9 months old. The families of the two who died in the blast have accepted Ayala’s offer.
“Tingin ba nila P1 million na check? Ang bilis kaya maubos ang isang milyon, di ba? Isang milyon lang ba ang buhay ng asawa ko?,” Umali added. (P1 million can be easily spent. Do they think my husband’s life is worth only P1 million?)
Umali disclosed that she has yet to meet with ALI regarding their settlement offer. She said she would meet with the company’s representatives after she commemorates her husband’s 40th-day death anniversary in Nueva Ecija next week.
Umali earlier said she already received a “financial help” of P50,000 from ALI during her husband’s wake. But she said this payment should not stop her from filing charges against ALI because she did not sign “any waiver to file legal actions.”
When we asked ALI to comment on Umali’s statement last Sunday, June 30, ALI said: “We continue to be very much open to help Mrs. Umali and her [children] in light of their tragic loss. We sincerely and deeply sympathize and condole with them and hope to be able to help them move on.”
San Juan’s death
Umali said that when she heard about San Juan’s death, she immediately thought of her husband.
“Noong narining ko yung balita biglang pumasok sa isip, pinasama na siguro siya ng asawa ko sa kanila para hindi na siya [San Juan] mahirapan,” Umali said. (When I heard about the news, I thought to myself, my husband might have asked him to join them already for his [San Juan] suffering to end.)
San Juan, whose body got burned during the blast, had to undergo daily dialysis because of weak kidneys. His doctors could not remove the poison that his body sustained from the explosion, San Juan’s lawyer, Raymond Fortun said.
In a previous interview, Umali said her husband’s body wasn’t even complete during his wake. She said that at the time, his thumb was still with the National Police’s Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO). “They [SOCO] didn’t even give it to us during the wake,” Umali said.
Despite the month-long probe, the government has yet to establish the cause of the gas leak that led to the explosion at Two Serendra on May 31. No official updates since the June 7 press conference have likewise been made. – Rappler.com