MANILA - (UPDATED) Two inmates at the New Bilibid Prison have died due to an outbreak of diarrhea that affected some 1,200 detainees, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Thursday.
"Dalawa na ang namatay. Ito po ay matatanda na mayroong diabetes. Iyung sakit nila, na-aggravate nitong dehydration nila," Aguirre said in a phone interview with radio DZMM.
(Two inmates have died. They are elderly and have diabetes. Their ailment was aggravated by dehydration.)
The inmates were identified as Virgilio Sabado, 62, who died Tuesday and Sabas Lastimoso, 67, who died early Wednesday.
However, Bureau of Corrections Director General Atty. Benjamin delos Santos, in a DZMM interview on Thursday afternoon, said it was only Sabado who died due to diarrhea.
"Meron na po siyang diabetes melitus type 2, nung sigurong ma-infect siya, na-aggravate 'to gawa nang mahina ang resistensiya at immunity niya, at saka 'yung edad niya na 63," he said.
(He had diabetes melitus type 2. His condition may have been aggravated by the infection because of his weak immunity and his age.)
He also said official reports show Lastimoso died of diabetic coma.
Aguirre earlier said at least 900 inmates in the New Bilibid Prison suffered from diarrhea over the weekend due to food poisoning.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, he said, informed him that the number of affected inmates reached 1,200 on Wednesday night.
The national penitentiary's caterer has said drinking unfiltered water, not food poisoning, should be blamed for the diarrhea outbreak.
The health department however, has yet to release the results of the official investigation, said Aguirre.
"Sabi sa akin ni Secretary Ubial baka po ngayon ay maging available. We will know ano ba talaga ang naging sanhi. Kasi po tumatanggi ang caterer na hindi ang bangus nila ang naging sanhi," he said.
(Secretary Ubial told me the information may be available today, we will know what really caused the outbreak because the caterer has denied that the bangus they served was the cause.)
Aguirre earlier said most of the affected inmates were from the Maximum Security Compound, but none of them were high-profile inmates.
The justice secretary promised to continue checking the condition of the detainees.
Meanwhile, Delos Santos said they have yet to identify the cause of the diarrhea that affected the inmates.
He also said he has ordered the inspection of the facility's water system.
"Nakakahiya man pong sabihin, 'yung century-old water system po natin, malamang po marami na pong leakage 'yun, at kahit anong chlorination na gagawin natin sa ating overhead tank, kung merong leak na po 'yung ating pipes, lalo na ngayong tag-ulan, magkakaroon ng surface water 'yan at magkakaroon ng seepage sa sistema," Delos Santos said.
(Our century-old water system may have leaks, and even if we chlorinate our overhead tank, there will still be seepage in our water system especially when it rains.)
Delos Reyes said they have distributed Oral Rehydration Solution (ORESOL) and Aquatabs to inmates to ensure the safety of their drinking water.