• Concert-goers were high on drugs – witnesses

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    A NIGHT THEY WILL REMEMBER Thousands sway to the music at the Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    A NIGHT THEY WILL REMEMBER Thousands sway to the music at the Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    They partied all night, but for some, it was to be their last.

    Thousands attended the “Closeup Forever Summer” concert at the Mall of Asia on Saturday but some of the concert-goers got high not just on the music but on booze and drugs, according to some witnesses.

    By 4 a.m. on Sunday, or 12 hours after the party started, five of the concert-goers have dropped dead.

    The Manila Times reporter Iza Iglesias, who was at the venue, said many of the attendees took “Ecstasy” pills along with strong alcoholic drinks that can be bought at the concert grounds.

    While there were bouncers watching, Iglesias said it was hard for them to secure the area because they were outnumbered by the huge crowd partying wild.

    Police said some 14,000 people packed the concert venue.

    “You will really notice that many people were high on drugs because they were acting crazy, seemingly not aware of what they were doing,” Iglesias related. “There was an instance when a 17-year-old boy came to me and asked if I also have pills.”

    She said some of the people were shirtless when the concert ended at about 4 a.m.
    Minors, according to Iglesias, were able to get in because they were not required to present identification cards.

    Even the inspection of bags was lax, Iglesias said.

    Inspector Rolando Baula of the Pasay City Station Investigation and Detective Management Branch (SIDMB) said toxicology tests are being performed on the remains of two victims–Bianca Fontejon, 18, and Lance Garcia, 36–to determine if they took drugs.

    He confirmed that Fontejon and Garcia died of massive heart attack.

    The other victims were Ken Migawa, 18; Eric Anthony Miller, 33; and American Ariel Leal, 22.

    Their families refused to have an autopsy performed on the three victims.

    ‘Amore’
    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Monday said probers are trying to determine if the victims took ‘Green Amore.’

    Floresto Arizala, NBI medico legal division chief, said the toxicology examination will determine what substance may have caused the victims’ death.

    He added that the five victims collapsed and were taken to the San Juan De Dios Hospital in Pasay City (Metro Manila) but they all died there.

    Arizala said the National Bureau of Investigation got information that many of the concert participants were given “Green Amore,” an illegal substance composed of “Ecstasy” and methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.”

    The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) had said “Green Amore” is categorized as a “fly-high” substance because users get extremely high after taking the drug.

    Pasay City police investigating the incident are also looking at illegal drugs, poisoning and heat stroke as the possible causes of death, according to Chief Insp. Rolando Baula.

    Closeup and SM Supermall expressed regret on the tragedy and vowed to cooperate with probers.

    House probe
    At the House of Representatives, Rep. Terry Ridon of Kabataan party-list filed a resolution urging the House Committees on Dangerous Drugs and Youth and Sports to jointly conduct an investigation in aid of legislation of the concert deaths.

    “There are questions that investigators need to answer: If dangerous drugs were indeed available in the party venue, how were they able to slip in such substances? Are concessionaires inside the venue involved? Clearly, the stringent security measures or ‘precautions’ did not deter the proliferation of said dangerous substances. And surely what had transpired in the concert is not an isolated case,” Ridon said.

    The lawmaker cited the need for a measure against the proliferation of drugs that balances anti-drug policy and public safety.

    “We need to craft legislation that balances anti-drug policy and public safety. While we do not condone the use of dangerous drugs in any event whatsoever, there are certain finer details that need to be considered in enacting a new law against drug proliferation,” Ridon told reporters.

    “We need to note that the issue is not only the rampant drug use in ‘rave’ events, but also the lack of harm reduction measures in said venues. Many party drugs have been scientifically proven to increase core body temperature to extreme highs, thus overheating and dehydrating users who are usually stuck in hot crowded areas, leading to fatalities,” he said.

    The lawmakers added that harm-reduction measures should be put in place in such events such as the provision of drinking water and ample breathing spaces.

    WITH REINA TOLENTINO

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    10 Comments

    1. Please get your facts straight. Green Amore is not ecstasy. It’s very different. You are glossing over the fact that these drugs have shabu (meth) AND Cialis (or Viagra) in them. Mixing different substances is a sure recipe for disaster when it comes to drugs.

    2. sadly, drugs will exist so long as there are users..its a law of supply and demand…we need to educate our children on the evil effects of drugs..there should be information dissemination in schools in offices and in public area to show how fatal and evil drugs are…they do not use thinking they will die or they will forever use that drugs…it is highly addictive..these are stupid morons and hey need to understand like a moron.. sadly we have so many morons in this country thats why so may drug addicts with loosen teeth and sunken cheeks are all over the island.. i see lawyers and people in top position private nd public using drugs u can tell especiqlly people in their 40s-50s when they started using shabus in the 90s….now shabu has evolved…green amore ets but ita all the same it will destroynot only theuser but the people around the user

    3. The Philippine government and politicians only act like they are after people die of an overdose. WHAT A JOKE OF A GOVERNMENT. Where where the drug sniffing dogs at this concert???

    4. Chittina De Ocampo on

      I don’t believe that a house investigation is needed to craft more legislation. The funds for that could go to augment perhaps pdea or even dost in finding better scientific methods to prevent entry of such substances at large events or to stop production or importation of ecstasy at its source.

    5. tony de leon on

      that’s why Pres Duterte is right. kill all those drug dealers and pushers. or we are going destroy the younger generation on drugs.

    6. Mark Torres on

      You don’t need a law on “provision of drinking water and ample breathing spaces”, what is needed is to prohibit Rave like parties and concerts. Anyway, I’m sure these concerts and parties will soon be inexistent under DU30.

      • You want to get rid of parties and concerts? What kind of society do you want to live in?

      • gg.alexandra on

        Pretty obvious you’re not into parties but I think it isn’t right to be biased about this. Raves or any kind of music fests shouldn’t be blamed why kids are encouraged to do drugs but the kids themselves and peer influence. I was at the event (and I’ve been to multiple music fests) but my friends and I never took illegal drugs, as well as alcoholic drinks and cigs, and always went home safe. I’m not against Duterte’s plan on cutting off the time either.

    7. At least they got their “kicks” and feeling “high” while in the throes of death. Lol!!

    8. At least they got their “kicks”and feeling ” high” while in the throes of death.