Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Man sues Korean ship firm for son’s death

By Tonette Orejas
Philippine Daily Inquirer

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The father of a worker at a subsidiary of the Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd. in Subic, Zambales, has filed a criminal case against a Korean who drove the truck from where his son fell over and died on Dec. 24.

Raul Loquinario also sued Hanjin’s DMK Philippines-Korea Co.-HHIC for alleged labor violations.

Loquinario, 47, assailed the police in Subic town for not arresting the driver, Jang Jong-dae, 41, and chief of the engineering unit.

The case for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide against Jang was filed at the Olongapo City prosecutor’s office on Dec. 27.

Money rejected

The family has also refused the offer of P100,000 from a certain Mr. Lee, reportedly a director of the DMK, as settlement for the death of Reynan, 24.

“My son’s work was over that day but that Korean ordered my son and his coworker (Jason Valdeztamon) to board the truck and hold the two pipes there as he drove within the Hanjin compound,” Loquinario told the Inquirer by phone.

In an affidavit, Valdeztamon said Jang instructed them to hold two metal pipes. “The sidings of the trucks were not closed. We had no safety cables on. The driver drove very fast. Reynan was [thrown off] the truck and the pipes fell also on him,” Valdeztamon said.

Reynan died of multiple crash injuries.

Jang, Loquinario said, was not supposed to drive the truck at that time because the vehicle was assigned to another personnel.

No reply

The Inquirer on Sunday tried but failed to reach Jang, the DMK or Hanjin. Jong Yu-pyeong, Hanjin general manager, did not reply to the Inquirer’s queries on Sunday.

“The policemen acted like they were mediating for Hanjin, not on behalf of my son. They were preventing us from filing cases. They did not want to make an affidavit of my complaint,” Loquinario said.

Supt. Cesar Jacob, Subic police chief, said his men tried but failed to find Jang at the Hanjin compound.

“When we could not find Jang, we went to the family of the victim to get their statements. They agreed to a settlement at first but changed their mind,” Jacob said.

The complaints by Loquinario, the first to be filed against a Hanjin employee and the companies, provide a test case on how these Korean investors treat Filipino workers and what safety measures are there in the workplace, according to Ramon Lacbain II, chair of the Zambales government’s Task Force Hanjin that assisted the family.

Reynan, the eldest in the brood of six, was the family’s lone breadwinner. Loquinario has been ill and tends a family retail store.

Jacob described the DMK as a “subcontractor” of Hanjin.

Cops helpless

Chief Supt. Errol Pan, Central Luzon police director, said the task force has “no jurisdiction over the case.” He said the police have prepared a case against some people who prompted the Loquinarios to reject the settlement offer. He declined to identify them.

A policeman in Zambales said Hanjin offered P250,000 but the task force “meddled” and “influenced” the family to demand at least P2 million. Loquinario denied it.

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