7 QC officials convicted in 1996 Ozone fire; 2 still working with city gov’t

By , on November 23, 2014

Shutterstock photo
Shutterstock photo

MANILA, Philippines – Yesterday, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista disclosed that two of seven government personnel convicted on November 201, 2014 in relation to the catastrophe that struck at the Ozone Disco Club in Quezon City in March of 1996 are in fact still working for the city government.

The two personnel are former building inspector Rolando Mamaid, who still maintains a position at the City Engineering Office, now as chief of road construction; and engineer Petronillo de Llamas, currently employed with the legal division of the city’s department of building.

Also convicted were former city engineer Alfredo Macapugay and staff members Francisco Itliong, Donato Rivera Jr., Edgardo Reyes, and Feliciano Sagana. All five are still in the country, but are no longer employed by the local government of Quezon City.

The seven city government officials were convicted by the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division for negligence relative to their part in the approval of the building permit and in the issuance of certificates of occupancy to Westwood Entertainment Company, Inc., the company which operated Ozone. The club’s owners were held culpable, as well.

For their negligence in determining the club’s structural deficiencies and violations, the city officials were sentenced – as were two of the club’s stockholders – to a maximum of 10 years behind bars.

Bautista said that those convicted in the Ozone case will probably appeal the court’s decision. Whether administrative sanctions would be imposed on Mamaid and De Llamas has yet to be checked with the Civil Service Commission, Bautista said.

Many will remember the terrible club tragedy, in which a fire that broke out in club at the corner of Timog and Tomas Morato Avenues claimed the lives of at least 162 of club goers; most of whom were high-school and college students celebrating graduation.

Investigations revealed that the club venue was in violation of several safety regulations; including an insufficient number of fire exits, obstructed exits, overcrowding of the club, as well as negligence of security personnel.

The Ozone Disco Club disaster is officially the worst club fire in the Philippines, and among the 10 worse in the world.