Ozone disco tragedy: Court convicts 7 ex-QC officials
MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has found guilty of graft 7 former Quezon City officials and two businessmen in connection with the Ozone Dance Club fire that killed 162 people in 1996.
Found guilty of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act are the following former QC officials:
- Alfredo Macapugay
- Renato Rivera Jr
- Edgardo Reyes
- Francisco Itliong
- Feliciano Sagana
- Petronilio De Llamas
- Rolando Mamaid
The private respondents found guilty of graft are Hermilo Ocampo and Ramon Ng, board members and stockholders of Ozone owner Westwood Entertainment Company Inc.
They were all sentenced to 6 to 10 years in jail, while the former Quezon City officials were perpetually barred from holding public office.
The court acquitted respondents Racquel Ocampo, Rosita Ku, Sunny Ku, and Alfredo Chua.
The court ruled that the former officials had connived with the private respondents to secure a building permit for the renovation of Ozone Disco, which led to the tragedy 18 years ago.
“There can never be a slapdash approval of a building permit and certificate of occupancy. To shrink from this duty will certainly run at risk all safety standards contemplated by the National Building Code,” the court said in its ruling.
Mostly high school and college students were celebrating the end of the school year at Ozone disco when a fire broke out just before midnight of March 18, 1996. The number of deaths were blamed on the structural integrity and lack of fire safety measures in the disco, which had passed city inspections. – Rappler.com