3 families suing over concert deaths
The families of two more partygoers who died after collapsing at a recent Pasay City concert will also be suing the organizers for criminal negligence, their lawyers said on Friday at the National Bureau of Investigation.
Both the NBI and the Philippine National Police have confirmed through tests that party drugs caused the deaths, but are still investigating if the drugs were actually sold at the concert venue.
Still, the parents of Bianca Fontejon, 18; Ken Miyagawa, 18, and Ariel Leal, 22, are pinning the blame on the people behind the May 21 Closeup Forever Summer concert held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds.
A total of five persons died, collapsing at different areas of the venue. The NBI has since arrested six drug-dealing suspects with possible links to the concert deaths.
Fontejon’s family was the first to file a complaint in the NBI on Monday. Joining the Fontejons on Friday were the parents of Leal and Miyagawa.
They will be filing a class suit against “everybody” liable for the deaths of the three victims, according to lawyer Jose Cabochan, who said he was representing all three families.
“(They) have agreed to pursue a common goal,” Cabochan said in an interview at the NBI Death Investigation Division (NBI-DID), where Leal’s father and some relatives gave statements.
Ariel Radovan, another lawyer for the three families, said that while they would be suing for criminal negligence, they could also “pursue other angles, depending on the [outcome of the] investigation.”
“What we are after is for Closeup and Unilever to provide us all the necessary documents showing who are the persons assigned to this particular function [or] task, so we can pinpoint their responsibility,” Radovan said.
Radovan stressed that even if the concert organizers had completed all the physical and security requirements for the event, they “should have been diligent enough to provide everything necessary to prevent these deaths.”
“The deaths, for sure, happened inside the venue. It’s like, if you invite someone over for a party at your house, you have to make sure nothing untoward happens to them,” he said.
“It’s uplifting to see that other people are helping with the investigation,” said Bibiane Fontejon, Bianca’s mother, who was also at the NBI-DID with her husband on Friday. “In a way, we get to hold hands and help each other through this ordeal, which we don’t want to happen to anyone else.”
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