Duterte on Davao mall fire: Truth will come out

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 26 2017 07:41 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte comforts family members of fire victims in Davao City in this file photo taken on Dec. 24, 2017. Malacanang Photo via Reuters

President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he assured families of 37 people who perished in shopping mall fire in Davao City 2 days before Christmas that the truth will come out.

The President, a former mayor of the city, said he broke the news on the recovery of 36 bodies to the families. Authorities said the fatalities were call center workers and one other body was recovered on Christmas Eve.

“So what is there to talk about the sunog? What I assured them is that the truth will --- Let the truth come out. 'Yan lang naman ang ano rin nila eh. Totoo lang, ano ang nangyari,” Duterte told reporters in Davao City.

“I was the one who broke the news to them. Kasi Inday begged off. Sabi niya, ‘Hindi ko kaya, pa.’ Eh sanay naman ako sa ganito,” Duterte said, referring to his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Most of the victims were trapped in the call center lobby and their bodies were burned beyond recognition, said Inspector Ezekiel Tabon, chief of operations of the Davao City Fire District.

The President said the local government would provide compensation to the families of the victims. He also suggested that the bodies be cremated.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire, which started on the third floor of the NCCC Mall. Stores on the said floor sell fabrics, wooden furniture and plastic ware.