Police checking report milk tea shop helper has gone home to Cebu | Inquirer News
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Police checking report milk tea shop helper has gone home to Cebu

By: - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ
/ 05:22 AM April 19, 2015

The helper of the milk tea shop in Sampaloc, Manila—which was shut down by authorities following the death of two people on April 9—has reportedly gone home to Cebu province.

In a visit to the apartment of Joseph Garnacio on Sta. Catalina Street in Grace Park, Caloocan City, his neighbor told reporters that the former left for Cebu with his mother on Monday.

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Beverly said that she last saw Garnacio when he returned last weekend from the Manila Police District (MPD) after he gave his sworn statement to authorities on the milk tea poisoning incident.

His employer, William Abrigo, and a customer, Suzaine Dagohoy, died after taking a sip of the “Hokkaido”-flavored milk tea Abrigo prepared himself.

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Arnold Aydalla, Dagohoy’s boyfriend, spent days in the hospital after he tasted the milk tea but immediately spat it out because of its foul taste.

READ: Milk tea kills 2 in Manila in 3 minutes; police can’t say what happened

Beverly said she learned of Garnacio’s departure after she failed to see him in the past few days.

Supt. Marissa Bruno, the MPD spokesperson, told the Inquirer in a phone interview yesterday that they have yet to confirm the information.

“Nonetheless, we can’t give conclusions [on his actions] and we expect that he will [still] cooperate with us,” Bruno said.

She added that the last time Garnacio went to the MPD headquarters on United Nations Avenue was when he gave his sworn statement to the police last week.

Police earlier said that cases have yet to be filed against any suspect pending the results of the tests being conducted by the Food and Drug Administration on the contents of the milk tea drank by the victims.

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An examination of the footage taken by the shop’s closed-circuit television cameras was also still ongoing, they added.

Lawyer Benedicto Buenaventura, the Abrigo family’s counsel, told the Inquirer in a phone interview yesterday that “the family [had] no knowledge that Garnacio [had] left.”

In a press conference on Friday, Lloyd Abrigo, the shop owner’s eldest son, belied reports that he had a hand in the deaths of Dagohoy and his father.

Earlier, Garnacio claimed that the night before the poisoning incident, Lloyd brought into the shop a pitcher which contained a foul-smelling substance.

Lloyd denied this, saying that the foul odor may have come from the oolong tea he was brewing. He stressed that he did not bring chemicals into the store, contrary to what Garnacio told authorities.

He added that only Garnacio and his father had keys to the store. Asked if Garnacio had returned the key to the family, Buenaventura said that these were still with the helper.

On the afternoon that the elder Abrigo was fighting for his life, lawyer Hazel Naredo, another family counsel, said that both Garnacio and Lloyd were at the hospital.

She added that Garnacio was later sent by Lloyd on an errand. Although the errand was supposed to take just a few minutes, it took two hours for Garnacio to return to the hospital, she claimed.

In a text message yesterday, Naredo said that “we might just go to the police,” when asked what the family’s next move would be. She, however, did not give further details.

Naredo also said that the family was not going to go after the shop’s suppliers of raw materials for its milk tea drinks.

“It’s the same supplier [and it] never happened before. They have been doing business for a year now,” Naredo said.

“Right now, we’re not looking at that angle although the police are welcome to do their own investigation on that,” she added.

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TAGS: Arnold Aydalla, Joseph Garnacio, Milk Tea, poisoning, Suzaine Dagohoy, William Abrigo
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