8 die of poisoning after drinking sessions in Laguna
SAN PEDRO CITY— Eight people died in two separate incidents of suspected “poisoning” after drinking sessions in the cities of Sta. Rosa and Calamba in Laguna province, police said Thursday.
Samples of “lambanog” (coconut liquor) were submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing, after the victims, all male adults, reportedly consumed that particular alcoholic drink before their deaths.
Chief Insp. Jojo Sabeniano, Laguna police spokesperson, said the incidents happened Wednesday.
He said two groups of men did not know each other, but turned out they all had taken the same brand called “Bossing Tumador.”
“They all reportedly suffered from dizziness. Then they partially lost their eyesight before [their] death,” he added.
A separate report from the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) regional police said the drinking session in Sta. Rosa City happened at Barangay Pooc.
The report identified the fatalities as Roy Basbas, Severino Callos, Hermino Caramay, and Gonzalo La Torre Jr.
Two of their companions, identified as Antonio Jeremias and Robert Cruz, were taken to a local hospital.
Sabeniano said the drinking session in Calamba City happened at Barangay Socol. Police said four died in this incident but it did not release their names.
Sabeniano said the city health office in Calamba had collected samples of the lambanog brand and submitted it to the FDA for testing.
“But in the absence of any document (test results), we cannot conclude that their deaths were caused by the lambanog they drank,” he said.
Sabeniano said the group in Calamba drank lambanog with dogmeat as “pulutan” (appetizer), which could also be another source of food poisoning.
Lambanog is commonly produced and sold in the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon, and considered a cheap alternative drink during celebrations in local communities.
“We don’t know if the lambanog was purchased from the same (store, but in Calamba), it came from a local dealer who did not have a business permit,” Sabeniano said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.