Suspect in milk tea deaths wants CCTV clips for defense
The police have been ordered to give the lone suspect in the milk tea poisoning case in Manila copies of the footage taken by the establishment’s security cameras before and during the April 9 incident which left two people, including the suspect’s father, dead.
In Tuesday’s proceedings, the first of several preliminary investigation hearings against him, Lloyd Abrigo—who is charged with murder and frustrated murder for the deaths of his father William and Suzaine Dagohoy and the hospitalization of Dagohoy’s boyfriend, Arnold Aydalla—asked the prosecutor to compel the police to produce copies of the video from surveillance cameras installed at the Ergo Cha milk tea store.
His lawyer, Hazel Naredo, told Manila Assistant City Prosecutor Dennis Aguila that they have yet to see the footage in full.
“We asked for additional time to file our counteraffidavit because we have not seen the video from the security cameras. The video from the security cameras is crucial for us in our counteraffidavit and in the defense of our case,” Naredo said.
The police earlier submitted the footage to the prosecutor’s office as evidence against Abrigo who was shown in the video bringing into the shop a bag. According to the store helper, Jonathan Garnacio, the contents of the bag, which the suspect cooked inside the shop, gave off a foul smell.
“It is so important that even the police showed parts of [the footage] to the media as part of their investigation. As respondents to the case, it is well within our rights to have copies of this evidence,” Naredo added.
Aguila granted Naredo’s request and subpoenaed from the police copies of the video after noting that the investigators who were also summoned to the hearing did not appear. A second hearing has been set for June 9.
“We will endeavor to file our counteraffidavit by then,” Naredo said.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Abrigo came with his mother, Adela, who owns the milk tea shop. Her husband and Dagohoy died after they drank milk tea laced with oxalic acid, a toxic bleaching agent. Dagohoy’s boyfriend, Arnold Aydalla, fell ill and was hospitalized but survived.
Based on Garnacio’s testimony which was backed by CCTV footage, Abrigo went to the shop a day before the poisoning incident and concocted a foul-smelling substance. The suspect also went back to the shop hours after his father died to clean up.
Dagohoy’s brother, Frederick, who is a complainant in the case together with Aydalla, also attended the hearing. The two camps glanced at each other but remained civil throughout the hearing.
Frederick said he hoped Abrigo would be charged and convicted of the crimes against him. “The police have found strong evidence against him, including witnesses who testified against him, so we hope he gets charged,” he added.
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