‘Lambanog’ poisoning toll rises: 14 dead, 494 in hospitals
MANILA, Philippines — The death toll in two provinces— Laguna and Quezon—from lambanog, or coconut wine, poisoning has risen to 14 after another victim died during treatment at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila, according to police.
Col. Eleazar Matta, Laguna police chief, said the latest fatality was Junjun Clerico, who also drank lambanog bought from a retail outlet in Barangay Pook, Rizal town and bearing the brand “Rey Lambanog”.
The number of hospitalized victims also rose to 494 as of 1 p.m.
In total, 12 died and 489 others were sent to hospitals after drinking lambanog in Laguna, while two died and five were hospitalized after drinking the same from a retail outlet of the same brand at Barangay Sta. Catalina Sur in Candelaria, Quezon.
Citing medical findings, police earlier said the lambanog consumed by the victims had a high methanol content, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans as an ingredient in alcoholic drinks.
Col. Audie Madrideo, Quezon police director, told INQUIRER.net that police were still confirming if another person also died after drinking the product since some men who also drank the same liquor had not fallen ill.
According to Matta, cases of negligence and reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide may be filed against those found liable for the deaths of the victims.
Rizal Mayor Vener Muñoz said on Monday (Dec. 24) that he declared a state of emergency following the series of deaths and hundreds of victims being hospitalized in the town due to lambanog poisoning.
Fred Rey, owner of Rey Lambanog, surfaced and presented himself at the Rizal Municipal Police Station on Monday, denying liability for the deaths and saying he has been selling lambanog for decades without any untoward incident.
Edited by TSB
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