Multi-million-peso suit filed against Zamcelco PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 June 2014 11:24

In connection with San Roque

fire that razed several houses


A retired Army officer, his wife, a medical doctor and a policeman jointly filed a multi-million peso damage suit against the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) for alleged negligence that razed their houses and other valuables during a one-and-a half-hour long fire in San Roque, this city, last October 19, 2013.

In a 12-page complaint docketed as Civic Case No. 6611 filed last Friday before the Regional Trial Court 9th Judicial Region, the plaintiffs named the power distributor represented by Engr. George Ledesma, general manager, as defendant.

Through their legal counsel Lawyer Alfredo M. Jimenez, the complainants namely retired soldier Rodolfo Lazaro, Dr. Edna Lazaro and Robin Pinlac together with wife Ferwina charged that “because of the grave and reckless negligence of the defendant in not properly fixing the powerlines, plaintiffs have suffered actual damages.”

Case record shows that about 7 p.m. of October 17,  powerlines hanging from post-to-post in front of the one-storey establishment that houses four stalls and clinic owned by the Lazaro couple, sparked and burned causing electrical dropline to snap and fall on the wall of the clinic. But the fire was extinguished by firefighters who rushed to the scene.

Zamcelco trouble shooters came but allegedly did nothing and left, leaving the place in total limbo all night long. However they returned the following day and did some repair without replacing the damaged lines, but managed to restore power about 5 p.m. that day.

Four hours later the same powerline again started burning, but two Zamcelco linemen who identified themselves as Daniel Bacoy and Armando Marcial present that time extinguished it by simply tapping the burning material with wooden rod and left the place on board the firm’s service vehicle.

Again about 5 p.m. of October 19, 2013, the same connection started to burn and snap that caused one end of the livewire to fall on the roof of the clinic and the other on its gate.

As a result, fire broke out and in 90 minutes the Lazaro’s properties as well as that of their next door neighbor were razed to the ground.

In their spot report submitted to District Fire Marshall Dominador Zabala that day, fire probers manifested that all angles were taken into account “but after process of elimination and assessments, it was established that the incident was indeed caused by a serious electrical trouble and/or problem in the area.”

Atty. Jimenez in behalf of his clients wrote a letter that was acknowledged to have received by the defendant on January 15, 2014, but sad to say, according to the lawyer, “Zamcelco did not even had the courtesy of replying the letter,” demanding full payment of the damages for gross negligence and failure to observe diligence required in performance of duties and functions.

He maintained that “Zamcelco can be held primarily liable because it was also negligent in the choice and supervision of its employees in violation of Article 2180, in relation to Article 2176 of the Civil Code.

With premises considered, the plaintiffs prayed that after due notice and hearing, judgement be rendered in their favor and against the defendant. Their lawyer for his part sought for his clients and himself the following:

a) Pay the Lazaro spouses P4 million as actual damages and P1 million as moral damages b) pay Pinlac spouses the sum of P400,000 as actual damages and P50,000 as moral damages c) defendant to reimburse the lawyer P50,000 as acceptance fee and P2,000 as appearance fee per hearing. — LE