Tuesday, January 29, 2008

SC Paves the Way for Filing Charges Against ABS-CBN

The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition filed by ABS-CBN assailing the jurisdiction and powers of the Department of Justice to investigate the tragic ULTRA stampede which killed more than 70 people in February 2006.

The decision paves the way for the filing of charges against network officials, officials of the ULTRA and Goldlink Security Services.

Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales penned the decision of the Supreme Court Second Division.

In October 2006, the DOJ has found probable cause to indict ABS-CBN for the tragedy which occured during the celebration of Wowowee's anniversary.

But ABS-CBN, even prior to the release of the findings, has filed a petition first before the Court of Appeals and then to the SC contending that the justice department does not have any power to simultaneously conduct criminal and preliminary investigations.

It also said that the complaint-affidavits of the witnesses were defective and that Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez has pre-judged the case saying the secretary had already said that ABS-CBN has been remiss in its responsibilities.

But the SC found the petition without merit.

Those recommended charged with reckless imprudence are: Ma. Rosario "Charo" Santos-Concio, Executive Vice-President, ABS-CBN; Ma. Socorro Vidanes, Senior Vice President; Marilou Almaden, Business Unit Head; Cipriano Luspo, Head of Security; Morly Stewart Nueva, Executive Producer, WOWOWEE; Harold James Nueva, Assistant Producer for Sets and Tech, WOWOWEE; Norbert Vidanes, Director, WOWOWEE; Francisco Rivera, Location Manager, ABS-CBN; Mel Feliciano, Asst. Director, WOWOWEE; Jean Owen Garcia, Floor Director, WOWOWEE; Rey Cayabyab, Asst. Location Manager, WOWOWEE.

The same charges were also recommended for the officials of ULTRA and Goldlink Security Services, Inc.

WOWOWEE host Willie Revillame will not be indicted since the DOJ had exonerated the host in his petition for review.

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