DOJ starts preliminary probe on concert deaths

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2017 08:17 PM

MANILA The Department of Justice (DOJ) began on Thursday its preliminary investigation into the complaints for criminal negligence against Closeup and Unilever executives over the deaths of five concert goers of the May 2016 "Closeup Forever Summer" music festival.

Also charged by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and private complainants spouses Edison and Bibiane Fontejon, Gemma L. Miyagawa, and Conrado R. Leal were the concert's event and security organizers.

The case involves the deaths of Ariel D. Leal, 22; Lance F. Garcia, 36; Ken Miyagawa, 18; Bianca Fontejon, 18; and Eric Anthony Miller, 33, who fell unconscious in the middle of the concert held at the Mall of Asia Arena parking lot in Pasay City on May 22, 2016.

Only the remains of Fontejon, Miyagawa and Leal were subjected to examination; "dangerous drugs metabolites" were found in their system.

The following respondent Close-Up and Unilever executives as well as the other individuals impleaded in the case failed to attend in the
hearing: 

  • Rohit Jawa, Chairman and CEO of Unilever Philipines; 
  • Jesus Canlapan, Manager for Workplace Services and Facility Security; 
  • Albert Curnelius Trinidad, Marketing director of Close Up; 
  • Joy Dalanon-Ocampo, Country Manager for Safety Health and Environment (SHE); 
  • Melissa Alcayaga, Procurement Manager; 
  • Bea Lagdameo, Close-Up Assistant Brand Manager; 
  • Anna Kristina Doctolero, Project Manager; 
  • Baby Majalia Ahamadul, Senior Account Manager of Activations Advertising Inc.; 
  • Reginald Soriano; 
  • Eduardo Muego; 
  • John Paul Demontaño; and, 
  • Alexis Engelberto Aragon.

The complaint alleged that the "proximate cause of death of Fontejon, Miyagawa and Leal is attributable to the inexcusable lack of foresight in failing to perform an act anticipatory that illegal drugs [were] so prevalent in a rave party to the effect that given the highest educational and scholastic attainment, professional achievement and degree of occupation as well as their (respondents') intelligence, the event's master security and safety plan is silent and muted about illegal drugs."

"[R]espondents from Unilever-Close-Up, Activation Advertising and the other appear to be criminally liable based on the responsible officer doctrine for they held a position of responsibility and authority in their respective corporations; and had the ability to prevent the unwanted incidents but failed to do so," the complaint read.

Devanadera gave all respondents up to March 17, 10 a.m., to submit their respective counter-affidavits. The NBI was also directed to submit additional affidavits on or before March 6.