NBI arrests profiteers of medical supplies, one Chinese and four Filipinos

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The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents have arrested five suspects, including a Chinese national, for overpricing of medical supplies during separate operations in Caloocan and Quezon City.

NBI Director Eric Distor identified the Chinese suspect as Tian Man Chen, and Filipino suspects as John Derick dela Rosa, Jomel Tapispisan, Sarah Grace Tapispisan, and Nathaniel Palingkod.

The suspects are involved in selling  overpriced ethyl alcohol and non-contact thermal scanners.

Distor said the first operation stemmed from an intelligence report  received by NBI-Criminal Investigation Division (NBI-CRID) that a businessman from Valenzuela City is selling 100% alcohol in bulk or in drum amounting to P37,500, the amount of which is overpriced as compared to the allowable selling price set by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) pegged at P25,000 per drum.

After evaluating said report, Distor said an entrapment operation was hatched by CRID operatives for the purchase of two drums of 100% ethyl alcohol.

On April 1, upon arrival of operatives at the meeting place at Mercury Drugstore Caloocan near rotunda, a transaction took place and NBI agents arrested the four Filipino suspects.

They were charged before the Caloocan City Prosecutors Office for violation of Sec. 5(2) of Republic Act 7581 in relation to RA 10623 otherwise known as the “The Price Act of the Philippines” as penalized under Sec. 15 in relation to DTI Memo Circular  No. 20-07 dated March 19, 2020 and violation of Art. 52(b) of RA 7394 or the “Consumer Act” as penalized under Art. 60 in relation top Art. 14(7) of the Revised Penal Code.

In the second operation, Distor and operatives of the NBI Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) arrested Chen for alleged hoarding, profiteering and price manipulation of medical supplies in Quezon City on April 2.

Chen was arrested for selling overpriced thermal scanners at P4,400 per unit, which above the  allowable selling price of P599 to P3,400 set by DTI.

The operation resulted in the seizure of 1,000 pieces of thermal scanners valued at P4.4 million.

The suspect was charged before the Quezon City Prosecutors Office in violation of “The Price Act of the Philippines”, “Consumer Act of the Philippines”, and the “Bayanihan Act”./Stacy Ang

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