Legal fight goes on for Wowowee stampede victims

It’s been eight years since this tragedy, but there’s no clear resolution yet.

“On Tuesday, Feb 4, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) founding chairman Dante Jimenez gave assurances that the fight continues in seeking justice for the 71 people who perished during the 2006 Ultra stampede (which is also known as the Wowowee stampede),” reports Francis T. Wakefield in the Manila Bulletin.

Jimenez revealed that “while some relatives of the victims already were making settlements as regards the ‘civil aspect of the case,’ the court hearing in relation to the criminal aspect is continuing.”

The stampede occurred on Feb 4, 2006, when thousands of people gathered outside the PhilSports Arena (more popularly known as Ultra) to participate in the first anniversary episode of the popular and now-defunct ABS-CBN TV game show, Wowowee. The crowd — some of whom had camped out around the complex for days to wait for tickets — became unruly when organizers started to hand out tickets.

The people started fighing for the tickets, as it was evident not everyone would be accommodated inside the arena.

Reports said as many as 30,000 people were lining up for Wowowee that day. The Ultra’s capacity is pegged at 10,000.

The case is now being handled by the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 261 under presiding judge Florian Gregory D. Abalajon.

The report then revealed that “Atty. Regis P. Estillero, clerk of court 5 of the Pasig City RTC Branch 261, said that there is ‘a conscious effort’ on the part of the court to finally finish the case. But, he said, “it’s taking too long because of the constant filing of ‘motions’ from both the prosecution and defense panels.”

For the record, the top executives of the network were cleared by Judge Agnes Reyes Carpio in 2009, while the show’s host, Willie Revillame, was absolved by the Department of Justice.

The following Wowowee staffers are facing charges for reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and physical injuries: Marilou Almaden, Cipriano Luspo, Morly Stewart Nueva, Harold James Nueva, Norbert Vidanes, Francisco Rivera, Mel Feliciano, and Jean Owen Garcia.

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