Tourists’ deaths to be investigated


MANILA, Philippines – Philippine municipal officials could face charges for allowing tourists to trek up Mount Pinatubo in bad weather, police said.

Leon Nilo de la Cruz, the Central Luzon police director, said he had ordered an investigation into possible liability of the local officials after six tourists, including three French visitors, died because of Typhoon Morakot, the Philippine Star reported Saturday.

“If there is any evidence of criminal negligence or any civil liability, then we will file charges,” de la Cruz said.

He said he ordered Rudy Lacadin, the Tarlac police director, to lead the investigation into possible criminal and administrative liability of the municipal officials of Capas.

Police said the tourists registered early Thursday morning at the office of the Pinatubo Development Corp., managed by the Capas municipal government.

Ronnie Tiotuico, regional director of the Department of Tourism, said the PDC was taken over by the Capas municipal government in 2005.

“When the DOT was still in charge, the policy was to bar any trek to Mt. Pinatubo during bad weather or any expected threat of it,” Tiotuico said.