More respondents in Pasay concert deaths case mulled
More respondents should be added to the criminal complaint at the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the death of five concert goers during the May 2016 Close-Up Forever Summer music festival.
Atty. Ariel Radovan, counsel of the families of victims Ariel Leal and Bianca Fontejon, said they are thinking of including other executives of Unilever and the advertising group contracted for the event.
“The NBI already submitted the formal report, the witnesses were summoned to swear on their respective affidavits but the complainants are thinking whether to amend the complaint to include other respondents. It is our position that other respondents must also be included in the charges,” Radovan said Thursday prior to the start of the preliminary investigation at the DOJ.
“We are reviewing files and there is a probability that we are going to amend the files so that other corporate officials either from Unilever or Activation Group, should in our view be held accountable criminally,” Radovan added.
He added that while they respect the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation, it is within their rights to include additional respondents.
The other victims are Lance Garcia, Ken Migawa, and Eric Anthony Miller.
He said they have until March 17 to decide whether or not to amend the complaint.
“With due respect to the NBI, they were the ones who conducted the investigation and it is their prerogative but as private prosecutors, it is also our right and prerogative to include other personalities. We are not saying we are not satisfied with the NBI. The NBI have done their job but we, as private prosecutors, are concerned since we saw there are other corporate personalities who must be named as respondents in the case. I’m not saying the NBI has overlooked this but as private prosecutors to bolster our case, it is our right to amend the complaint,” he added.
Last month, the NBI filed charges of criminal negligence and violation of the Corporation Code before the DOJ against Rohit Jawa, Unilever Philippines Chairman and CEO and currently the Executive Vice President for Operations South East Asia, Jesus M. Canlapan, Unilever Philippines Manager for Workplace Services and Facility Security, Alberto Curnelius Trinidad, Unilever’s Marketing Director for Close-Up, Joy Dalanon-Ocampo, Country Manager for Safety, Health and Environment; Procurement manager Melissa Alcayaga; Close-Up Assistant Brand Manager Bea Lagdameo.
Also charged with the same offense were Michelle Suzanne Claire Quintana, Anna Kristina Doctolero, Baby Majalia Ahamadul, Senior accounts manager of Activation Advertising Inc., Reginald Soriano, Eduardo Muego, John Paul Demontano, the owner and President of HypeHouse Production Corporation and Alexis Engelberto Aragon, owner of Delirium Manpower Services.
The NBI said the Unilever executives and the organizers of the rave party also failed to consider several factors despite their assurance of a security master plan and ‘code red scenarios” adding that they failed to take into account the entry of illegal drugs in the concert venue and that only bomb sniffing dogs were deployed when they should also have positioned drug sniffing dogs in the area.
Likewise, the NBI said there was no coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to ensure that no illegal drugs will be able to enter the venue.
No simulation exercise was also held with the police.
Based on the autopsy and toxicological examination conducted on the victims, authorities said they tested positive for a designer drug known as methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA methylene homolog and methylenedixy cathinone.
Respondents were given up to March 17 to submit their counter-affidavits./rga
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