Thursday, October 19, 2006

ABS-CBN exec, Willie, Liable for Deadly Stampede

A Department of Justice investigating panel has recommended the filing of charges against some of officials of ABS-CBN, "Wowowee" host Willie Revillame, and officials of the Philippine Sports Arena and Goldlink Security Services in connection with the February Ultra Stampede which killed more than 70 people and injured hundreds of others.

Recommended charged were ABS-CBN Vice-President for Entertainment Ma. Rosario Santos-Concio, TV productions head Ma. Socorro Vidanes, host Revillame and staff of the program "Wowowee" which includes Marilou Almaden, Cipriano Luspo, Morly Stewart Nueva, Harold James Nueva, Norbert Vidanes, Rey Cayabyab, Francisco Rivera, Mel Feliciano, and Jean Owen Ercia.

Also charged were ULTRA building administrator Engr. Jesus Belardo, ULTRA booking and events coordinator Erlinda Reis, Goldlink Security and Allied Services Inc., staff director for operations Rosenbar Viloria, and securities in charge Wilfron Onanad and Chito Payumo.

In the resolution, the panel said that the deadly stampede could not have been just an accident.

"The stampede could be foreseen by the exercise of reasonable care and due reflection," the resolution said.

The resolution meanwhile recommended that a preliminary investigation be conducted to find out if there is probable cause to charge Pasig City Mayor Vicente Eusebio, former Pasig Chief of Police P/SSupt. Raul Medina, P/SInsp. Henry Asuela, PCP15 station commander, P/Insp. Khaddafy Bitor, chief, city traffic and parking management office; Arnulfo Awa, Philippine Sports Complex chief security officer, Philsports Arena security coordinator Eugenio Cabigas, and Brgy. Chairman ng Orambo Pasig Richard Pua.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said the aggrieved party can appeal the resolution via a petition for review to be submitted to him.

In a statement, ABS-CBN said it disagrees with the decision of the DOJ.

"It is ABS-CBN's position that there is no evidence to support the DOJ's decision is not the final ruling on this legal issue. it will be up to the courts of law to finally decide if the DOJ is correct and whether or not there is any criminal liability on the part of ABS CBN officers and production staff. ABS-CBN has full confidence in the legal system and has no doubt that justice will be ultimately served for all concerned," the statement said.

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