Unilever, CloseUp concert organizers face charges over party drug deaths
MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed criminal charges on Wednesday, February 1, against Unilever Philippines executives and the organizers of a rave party where 5 young people died of drug poisoning in May 2016.
The NBI filed with the Department of Justice charges of criminal negligence and violation of the Corporation Code against the suspects for failing to prevent the entry of party drugs to the event held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds last summer. (READ: Music, drugs, and alcohol: Do young Filipinos party to get high?)
The following are named respondents in the complaint:
- Rohit Jawa, Unilever Philippines chairman and CEO, and currently the executive vice president for operations in South East Asia
- Jesus M. Canlapan, Unilever Philippines manager for workplace services and facility security
- Alberto Curnelius Trinidad, Unilever marketing director for Close-Up
- Joy Dalanon-Ocampo, country manager for safety, health, and environment
- Melissa Alcayaga, procurement manager
- Bea Lagdameo, Close-Up assistant brand manager
- Michelle Suzanne Claire Quintana
- Anna Kristina Doctolero
- Baby Majalia Ahamadul, senior accounts manager, Activation Advertising Incorporated
- Reginald Soriano
- Eduardo Muego
- John Paul Demontano, owner and president of HypeHouse Production Corporation
- Alexis Engelberto Aragon, owner of Delirium Manpower Services
The NBI noted in its complaint that Unilever and the event organizers boasted of a "security master plan" and "code red scenarios" for the concert that expected to gather thousands of fans, but failed to consider the possible entry of illegal drugs.
“The proximate cause of the death…is attributable to the inexcusable lack of foresight in failing to perform an act anticipatory that illegal drugs is 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 intelligence the event’s master security and safety plan is silent and muted about illegal drug aggravated by the fact that those called upon to enforce said plan like the 300 bouncers lack the skill, expertise and experience to discriminate against said permicious drugs,” the complaint said.
The NBI cited other security lapses:
- Not enough bouncers, considering that 16,761 attended the event
- Drug sniffing dogs were not deployed; in fact, no simulation exercise with the police was conducted
- No proper coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
- Violated Pasay City's ordinance that imposes curfew on minors from 10 pm to 4 am – more than 800 of those who attended were below 18 years old
"The above-mentioned respondents from Unilever-Close-Up, Activation Advertising, and the others appear to be criminally liable based on the responsible officer doctrine (ROD) 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 NBI complaint read.
Autopsy and toxicological examination showed that the victims tested positive for a designer drug known as methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA methylene homog and methylenedixy cathinone.
These new breed of drugs are dangerous, but they are not included in the list of drugs prohibited under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. – Rappler.com
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