MANILA - (UPDATED) About 900 inmates of the New Bilibid Prison suffered food poisoning over the weekend, Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II said Monday.
"Noon pong Friday, mga 300 lang ang affected na inmates. Mayroon silang diarrhea... Pero noong Saturday, umabot na ng mga 900 inmates ang affected," Aguirre said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda."
"Doon po sa 900, ayon sa report, isa lang po ang kritikal. Parang naayos na naman nila ngayon, nalapatan na ng pansamantalang lunas."
Most of the affected inmates were from the maximum security compound, but none of them were high-profile inmates, said Aguirre.
Of the total, 109 inmates were confined in hospitals while the rest recovered inside their prison cells.
Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Benjamin Delos Santos has ordered an investigation into whether contaminated water or food served by a caterer caused the infection.
The justice secretary refused to speculate if the prisoners were deliberately poisoned.
Aguirre instead said he will meet with Delos Santos and personally check on the prisoners' condition on Monday.
He added that he may consult Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial on their investigation, although she is still tied up with relief operations in war-torn Marawi City.
The NBP's food supplier meanwhile has given about P25,000 in aid to the prisoners, Aguirre said.