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Food poisoning kills 2 inmates

Two inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City have died since falling ill from food poisoning as the number of victims has swelled to 1,212.

“There are now 1,212 diarrhea cases in Bilibid. Two deaths as of today,” according to Department of Justice (DoJ) Undersecretary Erickson Balmes yesterday.

BuCor Director General Benjamin delos Santos identified the two dead inmates as Virgilio Sabado, 62; and Sabas Lastimoso, 67.

“Next of kins have been duly notified and provided financial assistance,” said Delos Santos.

Sabado died May 30 due to “hypovolemic shock, infectious diarrhea, diabetes mellitus type 2.”

While Lastimoso died on May 31 due to diabetic coma.

Delos Santos said a joint team from DoH and Muntinlupa City Health Office continues to investigate the diarrhea outbreak.
“The team of medical and laboratory personnel conducted tests at the main kitchens, water supply sources, stool samples and interviewed affected and non-affected persons deprived of liberty (PDL),” said Delos Santos.

“Early test results are expected early next week,” the BuCor chief said as he appealed to media to “refrain from undue speculation pending official results of the investigation.”

In the meantime, he assured the outbreak is “under control” and those who fell ill are “well attended at the NBP hospital.”

Delos Santos also expressed gratitude to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, and Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi for “their unselfish support and donations of medical supplies, bottled water and food which are more than enough to meet the needs of the patients.”

Last Monday, Aguirre visited the national penitentiary himself to check on the situation of the affected inmates.

“If there are persons or parties responsible for this then they should be held accountable,” said Aguirre who initially brought to the NBP 2,000 bottles of Gatorade and 4,000 pieces of bananas for the ill inmates.

Citing initial reports, Aguirre said the inmates started feeling ill last May 28 after eating milk fish, locally known as bangus. (Jeffrey G. Damicog)