Ex-mayor Amante faces indictment over fire deaths

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Former Butuan City mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr. faces graft indictment before the Sandiganbayan over the 2012 fire at a garment factory where 17 female workers died.

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of the case after finding probable cause against Amante.

It also named as his co-accused two former city officials, namely, Licensing Officer IV Paul Cabrera and Acting City Fire Marshal Alric Gomez.

Investigation conducted by the Ombudsman showed Novo Jeans and Shirts Enterprises was given a business permit despite the lack of a Fire Safety and Inspection Certificate (FSIC).

The Ombudsman pointed out, under Section 5(g) of the Fire Code of the Philippines, the issuance of a business permit without the FSIC is clearly prohibited.

“The law provides that local government units and other government agencies shall assist the [Bureau of Fire Protection] BFP in the
strict observance of the requirement of fire safety measures for the issuance of FSIC as a pre-requisite in the grant of and renewal of business, occupancy and other related permits/licenses,” the Ombudsman said in a statement.

“For such purpose, the local government shall refrain from issuing such licenses and/or permits without the applicant first securing the FSIC from the BFP,” it added.