A Filipino TV network has been accused of treating thousands of hopeful game show contestants "like animals", after a stampede led to the death of 74 people.

Six hundred people were injured and 74 killed when a huge crowd surged towards the gate of a Manila, Philippines, stadium on Sunday (05FEB06) in the hope of being chosen as a contestant for the ABS-CBN network's WOWOWEE show.

The show was celebrating its first anniversary and offering cars and a house, as well as the usual jackpot of 1 million pesos ($19,330/GBP10,700) to the winners, which would have been picked at random from the audience.

The head of the government inquiry MARIUS CORPUS said the people - some of whom had spent days waiting outside the stadium - were "exploited, manipulated, treated like animals".

He continued, "The decision or act of offering so few tickets to so many people can be likened to throwing a small slice of meat to a hungry pack of wolves and this triggered the stampede.

"There was an obvious and substantial lack of preparation by the organiser."

In response, ABS-CBN chairman EUGENIO LOPEZ says, "I am responsible and I will hold myself accountable should our justice system so determine. While we acknowledge that we may possibly have had some shortcomings, a callous and malicious disregard for the people is not one of them."