Duterte dodges questions on Quiboloy re Caraga poisoning
DAVAO CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte declined to comment on the reported involvement of followers of televangelist Apollo Quiboloy in the mass food poisoning, mostly of students, in the Caraga Region.
Duterte, who has been very open about his “good friendship” with Quiboloy, leader of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ based here, said he could not speak for the latter.
“He can speak for himself when he comes back,” he said.
Quiboloy is currently in the US and is expected to issue a statement when he returns to the city.
But Duterte agreed that the alleged involvement of the pastor’s men in the incident should be investigated.
Police in Caraga, where nearly 2,000 people – mainly children – suffered vomiting, nausea and abdominal pains after ingesting durian and mangosteen candies, said the tainted products were sold by Quiboloy’s followers.
Supt. Martin Gamba, spokesperson of the Caraga police, said several persons were arrested in the towns of Cagwait, Tago and Tagbina and in the city of Tandag in pursuit of vendors responsible for selling the candies.
A white Mitsubishi L-300 FB Deluxe with license plates MEM366 and registered under Quiboloy’s name was also seized.
“Wait for him to return and explain,” Duterte said.
In Agusan del Sur, where dozens of children were also downed by durian and mangosteen candies, Vice Gov. Santiago Cane Jr. said they were also coordinating with the Davao City government in the investigation of the incident.
Cane said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Sur passed a resolution on Monday urging store owners and food manufacturers in the province not to sell processed food products that didn’t have a permit from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
“This does not limit to candy products only but to all kinds of processed food that require FDA approval,” Cane said.
In North Cotabato, where some 40 students were also found to have been poisoned after eating tainted candies, Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said she told the police to pursue vendors selling similar products.
Taliño-Mendoza said she told school officials to ban ambulant vendors near schools and to ensure the safety of food sold in canteens.
Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who is acting mayor after his father went on leave, has said that that food manufacturer “Wendy’s,” which is based in the city, had no FDA registration.
“Our City Health Office and the Department of Health are presently conducting an investigation to determine the cause of poisoning and source of the alleged durian and mangosteen candies,” the acting mayor said.
Vice Mayor Duterte said he already ordered the City Health Office to inspect candy manufacturers in the city to determine if they had FDA permits.
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.