• ‘Red tape’ slows down toxic milk tea probe


    Police investigating the death of two people after they took a sip of a milk tea beverage believed to be laced with poison Manila on Saturday claim they’re having a difficult time coordinating with the Food and Drug Administration which they said have been requiring “too much” paper work.

    Investigators from the homicide section of the Manila Police District sent samples of the beverage to the FDA for laboratory testing, but the agency’s staff allegedly refused to examine the specimen right away due to certain “requirements”.

    Chief Supt. Rolando Nana, chief of the MPD, said they’ve been urging the FDA to test the samples while it’s still “fresh”.

    FDA officer-in-charge Nicolas Lutero III however, said they already started started laboratory examination procedures, but insisted that the police still need to submit a medical abstract and an investigation report. He said they expect to come up with the laboratory test results early this week.

    Manila City Hall inspectors immediately shuttered Ergo Cha Milk Tea store located along Bustillos Street in Manila after the suspected food poisoning incident on Thursday which led to the death of the store’s owner William Abrigo, 57 and customer Suzanne Dagohoy, 28.

    According to Christopher Joseph S. Orozco, an emergency room physician at the Ospital ng Sampaloc where the victims were taken, the other customer Arnold Aydalla, 34 had been discharged.

    “From all indications, there really was poisoning involved but it’s only the police who could tell if it was accidental or deliberate,” he told The Times.
    Even Malacañang has taken interest on case.

    “We’d wait for further results of the investigation before we make any comment. I don’t want to take the results as they seem on the surface,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte

    said on Radio ng Bayan on Saturday.

    The Manila City Hall immediately ordered the closure of the milk tea store. It’s employees have been taken into police custody for investigation.


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    1. to Ms So, before leaving a comment, make sure to construct the sentence in your head before posting… Japeth, not sure if this is your line of job but at least your comment is the only one with sense here. dustin, don’t comment about something that you don’t have any idea how it works. And yes, my line of work makes me understand what Japeth is saying. Sorry for this comment. I will not post this if there’s no reason to. TEEHEE.

    2. To Dustin: before you judge the FDA please be informed that the “requirements” are needed by the FDA to facilitate the testing of the substance which we believed to be poison. Also be informed, that without the reports, there will be no clear toxicant which will be tested specifically. FYI there are more than 500 substances both chemical and biological which are known to be poisonous, if you are the FDA, without any heads up where will you start? Given a limited volume of the sample, the FDA must carefully select and strategize which substance will they test (given that the police do not have any reports to HELP the FDA). Poison is not universal term. In the lab, you dont test POIPOISON, you test a SPECIFIC POISON. Please be guided. Please

      • Hmmmm…. yes you are right…. but base on initial findings, the way it exhibit its toxicological effect, the mechanism of toxicity the patient experienced, the background on which the sample came from…. i think they can narrow it down to some specific chemicals that illicit such properties.

      • just one question and youll have a hint… and narrow the selection process…. which poisons or maybe class of poisons illicits such immediate toxic and fatal effect? in such minute amount? Water soluble? Foul taste? Foul odor?

    3. Even Malacañang has taken interest on case.
      “We’d wait for further results of the investigation before we make any comment. I don’t want to take the results as they seem on the surface,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.

    4. Here it goes again, we cant do it yet we need to get a report from you. Just do it for gods sake & the report will come. What is wrong with these people, why do they need a report. Will that affect the way they do their tests. Their job in the laboratory is to test all substances to find if they are poisonous. Just do it, im sure the police will do their report also, but yes i admit it may take some time as they arnt the best police force in the world are they.

      • I work in a laboratory, tho not in FDA.
        When it comes to medico-legal cases, the laboratory cannot release the result without clinical correlations(in these case: autopsy findings).
        I’m pretty confident that the laboratory section of FDA are already running test, and they are most likely coming up blank. Why? Because there are literally HUNDREDS of tests that you can run for poison/toxicology alone. In fact, some tests are reliant to the the autopsy findings(FYI: a complete autopsy takes 2 weeks-2months, and it’s not because the pathologists are lazy, it’s because some ORGANS need weeks just for preparation alone). So yes, this case is going to take a while, no matter how much we want to rush it(and for chrissake, PNP just needed to do their paperwork to avoid any holdups, binabalin lang nila ang waiting period when in fact pwede naman nila sabihin na nagumpisa na).

        Lastly: If you’ve ever watched a medical-crime drama series, you’d notice that a doctor is usually checking the cadaver and discovers a breakthrough finding….in which said doctor will page his/her assistant to run a test(to confirm) said finding. That’s how it works, except it takes ages for the breakthrough to happen.