Vowing to protect consumers from profiteers who take advantage of the crisis brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raided a number of stores of medical supplies in Manila and Rizal yesterday for overpricing.
NBI Director Eric Distor, who led the operation in Sta. Cruz along Rizal avenue Manila, together with operatives of NBI-Special Action Unit (NBI-SAU), said the operation resulted in the seizure of 1,360 pieces of thermal scanners and 7, 680 pieces of face masks worth more than P10 million.
Distor said the operation stemmed from an information that the store was selling thermal scanners for P8,000.00 per piece which is 8 times higher than its normal price of P1,000.
Distor added that the store had a signage at its front door “OUT OF STOCK THERMAL SCANNER” and “OUT OF STOCK ANY KIND OF MASK”.
Distor said during the operation yesterday, several boxes containing 1,360 thermal scanners and boxes with 7,680 pieces of face masks were found in the storage room of the store.
Arrested were the Assiatant Manager, cashier and their salesladies who will be charged for violation of Republic Act 7581 otherwise known as the Price Act of the Philippines.
Rudy Miranda, owner of the store who was not in the area during the operation, will likewise be charged for the same offense.
In the second operation, the NBI-Rizal District Office headed by Lawyer Igmidio Congzon, Jr. raided the Professional Skin Care Formula by Dr. Alvin in Taytay Rizal for overpricing of Isopropyl alcohol.
Distor said the operation was prompted after a poseur customer was able buy two gallons of alcohol at P750.00 each which is very much higher than the price dictated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in pursuance of the price freeze on medical supplies and basic necessities due to the COVID-19.
The operation yielded eight gallons of 70% isopropyl alcohol that are also being sold in refill by small bottles. A request for Certification for product registration and/ or notification has been made with the FDA.
Charges are being readied against its owner/proprietress, Lyndy Marollano of Cainta Rizal and her staff, Annabele Tirados Mendoza, for violation of R.A. 7581 otherwise known as the Price Act of the Philippines as amended by R.A. 10623 on Automatic Price Control and for possible violation of R.A. 3720 as amended by R.A. 9711, otherwise known as the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009.
Distor assured the public that the NBI will be relentless in its campaign against profiteers and overpricing to protect consumers especially during this crisis./Stacy Ang