Tea shop owner’s kin ‘hurt’ by talk tagging son, says lawyer

MANILA: The family of the milk tea shop owner who died in Manila after drinking a beverage he himself prepared last week is “hurting” amid reports dragging his son into the alleged food poisoning incident, according to their lawyer.

Benedicto Buenaventura said the loved ones of the late William Abrigo “are in a tough condition right now because of this unexpected tragedy. They’re still grieving but they’re looking forward to a break.”

“They’re really hurting, especially with those media reports about (Abrigo’s) son. But those reports are not really related to this incident,” the lawyer told the Inquirer on Wednesday.

Buenaventura was referring to reports quoting a helper at Abrigo’s shop as saying that his son Lloyd, 27, brought a foul-smelling chemical to the store the night before the April 9 incident that killed William and customer Suzanne Dagohoy and sent her boyfriend Arnold Aydalla to the hospital.

The helper also claimed that Lloyd, after learning of his father’s death, rushed back to the store on Bustillos Street, Sampaloc, Manila, and ordered him to clean up several foul-smelling utensils and throw away a liquid substance.

The remains of the elder Abrigo, 57, were cremated at a Quezon City columbarium on Wednesday. William was initially listed in police reports as the owner of ErgoCha tea shop in Sampaloc although the place is registered in the name of his wife, Adela.

Buenaventura said the Abrigos would now be able “to cooperate further ” with the Manila Police District, which has yet to come up with a suspect in the incident, if indeed there was foul play involved.

“Maybe within this week we will try to issue a statement from the family. We hope this will bring closure to the issue so that the public can hear their side and the family can now begin to rest after this tough ordeal,” the lawyer added.

Initial tests conducted by the Food and Drugs Administration showed that the milk tea sample obtained by the MPD from the shop showed no traces of toxic substances.

As of Wednesday, the MPD was still awaiting from Camp Crame the results of toxicology tests on the victims’ remains.

An initial autopsy report released by the MPD stated “shock secondary to ingestion of toxic substance” as the cause of Dagohoy’s death.

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