P3.4M worth of suspected shabu seized in Antipolo

Marje Pelayo   •   September 6, 2018   •   4410

ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) seized over P3 million worth of suspected shabu in Barangay Mayamot, Antipolo City Wednesday night.

The suspect, identified as Emilio Dugan, 39, is a resident of Viga, Catanduanes.

Authorities were able to trap Dugan through a poser-buyer. However, Dugan’s cohort was able to escape.

“Hawak talaga ng isang operatiba natin iyong kasama niya. Noong humarang siya, (palibahasa) malaking tao, nakatakbo. Siya iyong naiwan,” recalled Agent Robert Sebastian.

Seized from Dugan were three plastic bags of suspected shabu weighing 500g and valued at around P3.4M,  along with a cellular phone and the marked money.

Dugan denied involvement in illegal drug trade.

“May nagpabibit lang sa akin nung bag. May inutos lang po na dalhin doon sa loob ng aramis. Negative po, hindi po ako gumagamit,” he argued.

The suspect will face charges for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act while authorities launch a massive manhunt against his accomplice. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Jennica Cruz)

Death toll in ‘lambanog’ poisoning climbs to 15

Marje Pelayo   •   December 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Two more patients confined at the Philippine General Hospital and Rizal Medical Center died successively of complications due to ‘deadly lambanog’ or methanol poisoning on Tuesday (December 24).

They were identified as Mario Asegurado and Jun Jun Cleriko.

The recent fatalities from drinking ‘lambanog’ at this point has climbed to 15 — twelve from Rizal, Laguna and three from the province of Quezon.

According to the Rizal Municipal Police Station Chief PCapt. Lindley Tibuc, the victims’ kin are determined to file charges against the owner of Rey Lambanog despite the supplier’s offer of financial assistance.

“Puwede tayong mag file ng (We can file charges of) reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries,” Tibuc explained.

“Posibleng sa pagluluto or doon sa pagtatakal, pwedeng doon nangyari ang pagkakaroon ng methanol content (Possibly, the poisoning started with the processing or handling when methanol content started to build up),” the officer said.

More patients are coming to PGH for checkup. Most of them were among those who consumed the so-called ‘killer’ lambanog such as Marlon Magpantay.

His drinking buddy died on Tuesday morning.

“Patay na kaninang umaga (He died this morning),” Magpantay said of his friend, Mario Asegurado.

“Maigi na ang sigurado. Nakaka-awa ang mga bata kapag naiwan, (It’s better to be cautious. My children would suffer if I die),” he added.

The municipal health office in Rizal, Laguna are encouraging all individuals who happened to consume Rey Lambanog to immediately seek medical consultation especially if they experience blurring of vision, difficulty breathing and nausea which are among the symptoms of methanol poisoning.

“Hindi biro na kapag nag umpisa na ang signs and symptoms (It’s not a laughing matter once the signs and symptoms begin),” warned Rizal Municipal Health Office Admin Officer John Michael Gangay.

“Kaya sana po bago mag-appear ang mga sintomas na iyon, makapunta kayo dito sa municipal health office, (So before these symptoms start to appear, better go to the municipal health office),” he offered. – MNP (with details from Sherwin Culubong)

State of emergency declared in Laguna town as lambanog poisoning death toll rises to 11

Robie de Guzman   •   December 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The local government of Rizal town in Laguna on Monday declared a statement of emergency after several individuals were killed and hundreds were rushed to hospitals for alleged alcohol poisoning.

Rizal Vice Mayor Antonio Aurelio said the declaration aims to gain access to the local financial assistance fund to help individuals affected by the incident.

Based on the report of Rizal Municipal Health Office, eleven people were confirmed dead, another in critical condition, while more than 300 others were being monitored Sunday after imbibing coconut wine or locally known as lambanog.

“Based doon sa findings ng PGH, sa ilan na dinala doon ay may nag-positive sa methanol intoxification,” John Michael Gangay, administrative officer of Rizal Health Office said.

The affected individuals allegedly attended different holiday parties but all consumed lambanog bought from the same store.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said that lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels becomes highly toxic for humans.

Methanol is a naturally occurring substance present during the distilling process, that should be separated and removed thereafter, the DOH added.

The symptoms of methanol poisoning include vomiting, stomach pain and dimming eyesight.

Following the incident, the local government has urged all those who ingested lambanog in the areas to voluntarily seek medical examination.

The sale of lambanog in Rizal town was also suspended.

“Kahit kami nabigla eh. Di namin alam na may mangyayaring ganito sa bayan namin. Tunay na nakakalungkot, pero we are doing our best para ma-extend ang tulong sa aming mga kababayan,” Aurelio said.

The Rizal Police has confiscated the brand of lambanog involved in the incident amid ongoing investigation.

DOH probes lambanog poisoning incident in Laguna

Robie de Guzman   •   December 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it is now investigating reports of poisoning cases allegedly caused by the ingestion of coconut wine or lambanog in Laguna.

DOH data showed that 265 individuals from Rizal town in Laguna have fallen ill after drinking lambanog.

Of this number, 66 were brought to the Philippine General Hospital for treatment and observation. Forty-nine of them are male between 13 to 65 years old.

The DOH said all had history of lambanog ingestion between December 19 to 22.

Sixty-two other affected individuals were brought to the East Avenue Medical Center, 82 were taken to Rizal Medical Center, 13 to Quirino Memorial Medical Center and 42 to Batangas Medical Center for medical management.

The DOH assured it is on top of the issue as it continues to investigate the alleged lambanog poisoning.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has repeatedly issued warnings to lambanog brewers over its high methanol content, and urged the public to exercise extreme caution in purchasing and consuming the alcohol beverage.

It also advised the public to only buy lambanog brews that are registered with the FDA.

“Lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels becomes highly toxic for humans. Methanol is a naturally occurring substance present during the distilling process, that should be separated and removed thereafter,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“I urge everyone to avoid drinking alcoholic drinks this holiday season. Let us stay sober as we celebrate the festivities with our families and loved ones,” he added.

The DOH chief said that FDA regulatory inspectors have been deployed to Rizal, Laguna to collect samples, and investigate the alleged poisoning incident. Teams have also been dispatched to different health facilities where affected individuals were referred.

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