- Eddie Garcia’s partner blamed GMA Network for his death.
- Lilibeth Romero promised to fight for showbiz workers’ safe working environment.
Eddie Garcia’s long-time partner Lilibeth Romero blamed GMA Network’s negligence for the untimely death of the screen veteran.
During the Senate hearing Monday, September 23, regarding the review of the implementation of the OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) Law, Romero said that had GMA Network provided onsite medical professionals during the taping, Garcia would have not died.
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“Eddie Garcia’s death would have been prevented, and I say he did not die in vain. Categorically, I state that Eddie Garcia’s death was caused by gross negligence and unsafe working environment and absence of medical team on the set,” she said.
“Unfortunately, TV network GMA should have made the working environment of the 90-year-old Eddie Garcia safe for his work,” Romero added.
Last September 4, DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) revealed that it found three violations committed by the Kapuso network with regards to the incident involving Eddie Garcia.
According to DOLE’s NCR Director Sarah Buena Mirasol, GMA Network and its contractors failed to submit a report on the incident within 24 hours. They also did not provide a safety officer and a first aid professional on set.
However, in their answer to DOLE’s findings, GMA network reiterated that they have ready professional first-aid personnel on the set, and with regards to the 24-hour submission of an incident report, they maintained that they respect Garcia’s family thus they gave the result of their internal investigation to the family first.
But Romero denied the claim of GMA network executives, saying she had to beg GMA Network’s Senior Vice President and Entertainment Group Head Lilybeth Rasonable through her lawyer to get a copy of the report first.
“Lilybeth Rasonable did not want to first give me the investigation report, she said she owes it to the public to give it first to the public. But I begged for it, through my lawyer,” Romero said.
Meanwhile, Romero promised that the death of the showbiz icon will not go to waste. She said that their family will do everything not to put Garcia’s death in vain.
“If it takes his untimely death to prevent future threats to actors, stuntmen, and others inside the various production sets of television, film and movie industries, then I, together with the members of Garcia family, will fight until the end to get the lives in protection of his colleagues in place,” said Romero.
“Kung ang pagkamatay ni Eddie Garcia ang magsisilbing gabay para wala nang peligro o panganib na mangyari sa loob at labas ng produksyon, then ito rin po ang kagustuhan ni Eddie Garcia (If Eddie Garcia’s death will serve as the guide so that there will be no more accidents inside and outside of production, then it would also be the wish of Eddie Garcia),” she added.
Eddie Garcia died on June 20 after a week of being comatose. His death was caused by an accident on the set of GMA Network’s Rosang Agimat. Garcia tripped on a cable wire resulting in a severe neck injury.
GMA Network’s reaction
GMA Network meanwhile clarified the statements of Ms. Romero during the senate hearing.
In their official statement, GMA network denied her claim that GMA did not want to give her the copy of their internal investigation. The network said the family was immediately given a copy of the result of their investigation.
Here’s GMA network’s official statement regarding the statements of Lilibeth Romero.
GMA Network acknowledges the family’s grief following the unfortunate passing of Mr. Eddie Garcia. However, the Network wishes to correct the statement made by Ms. Lilibeth Romero during the Public Hearing on Occupational Safety and Health Standards on September 23, 2019.
During the said hearing, Ms. Romero stated that GMA did not want to give her a copy of the investigation report on the accident involving Mr. Garcia and that she begged for [the investigation report] thru her lawyer.
This is not true. In fact, their family was the first to be furnished a copy of the investigation report.
When the Network finished its internal investigation, the family of Mr. Garcia, through Dr. Tony Rebosa, was immediately informed about it. The Network coordinated with Dr. Rebosa and mentioned to him that GMA wanted the family to see the report first before releasing it to anyone else. Ms. Romero, however, was out of the country at that time.
The Network subsequently agreed to delay the release to enable Ms. Romero to see the investigation result first upon her arrival.
The said report was submitted to DOLE after a copy was given to the family.