A Lawsuit Is Being Readied Vs. the Organizers of ConQuest 2023
It looks like the people behind this year’s CONQuest Festival are facing something a lot more serious than disgruntled attendees. A Twitter user named @peebleplays said they are working on possibly filing a lawsuit against the organizers of the gaming and pop culture convention held last weekend (June 2 to 4) at the SMX Convention Center and adjacent buildings and venues.
In a post on Tuesday (June 6), peeblesplays said they are looking for at least six people “willing to file an affidavit narrating their experience” at the con. They added that they’re willing to shoulder the legal expenses.
hi, possible lawsuit filing here for #CONQuest2023 . looking for at least 6 people willing to file an affidavit narrating their experience. (this is serious btw)— Peebles (@peeblesplays) June 6, 2023
kami na po bahala sa legal expenses.
Thousands of convention attendees flocked to the venue over the weekend but there were reports of overcrowding and mismanagement on the part of the organizers. ConQuest2023 became a trending topic on social media as hundreds of reports poured in about attendees lining up for hours under the hot sun and ultimately being unable to make it inside the venue. There were also video footage of people passing out while in line.
When someone asked what case they intended to file, Peebleplays initially replied “large case estafa.” However, several Twitter users expressed doubt that estafa was the correct case to file in this instance. A reply from a Reddit user suggested a case of violation of the consumer act of the Philippines, particularly the provision on "deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable acts and practices.”
Peeblesplays eventually replied and admitted that it was her fault “for dropping large-scale estafa” and that “nothing is finalized yet.”
The tweet has garnered over 3,000 retweets and over 10,000 likes about 24 hours since it was posted. Many voiced support for the planned lawsuit and demanded accountability for the failures of the con.
Meanwhile, Justin Gorriceta Banusing, co-founder of AcadArena, which organized ConQuest, issued an apology last Saturday, day 2 of the con, for the way things unraveled. He admitted failure and said he “overpromised and underdelivered.”
“I know you’ve been looking forward to this event all-year and it sucked that not everyone who wanted to experience CQ was able to do so,” he said. “Worse is that I hyped it up a LOT – and hype means nothing when you cannot enjoy it.”
Banusing implored people not to harass or threaten ConQuest crew, team members and volunteers. “(T)hey been working and looking forward to this as much as you did,” he said.
Refunds have been offered to people who asked for them. However, the refund process has also been met with glitches: users reported getting error messages and some users complained that the refund amount did not cover the total expenses they paid to attend the event.
Questers, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and discomfort that many of you experienced during CONQuest due to the long lines outside the convention.— CONQuest Festival 2023 ?? (@CONQuestPHL) June 7, 2023
We recognize that your experience did not meet your expectations, and we will make amends starting with the release… pic.twitter.com/Z6og5lqUed
There is also a petition on Change.org demanding accountability from the organizers “for public health violations." Uploaded on Sunday (June 4) the petition had nearly 1,200 signatures as of Wednesday evening (June 7).
CONQuest is a project of AcadArena, a startup that operates interschool esports leagues, and a leading organization for campus gaming and esports not just in the Philippines but in Southeast Asia. Banusing and his co-founders Kevin Hoang, and Ariane Lim were cited in Forbes 30 Under 30 as well as on Esquire’s list of Most Powerful People in the Philippines in 2022.