4 profiteers nabbed, P12M overpriced alcohol, masks seized

COMBINED agents of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the National Capital Region Police Office have arrested four persons engaged in profiteering following separate entrapment operations in Quezon and Pasay cities which led in the confiscation of over P12 million worth of alcohol and face masks being sold for as much as 500 percent each bottle, PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa said yesterday.

The PNP chief said that around 5:15 p.m. Sunday, undercover officers of the NCR Field Unit of the PNP-CIDG headed by Colonel Arnold Thomas C. Ibay and the NCRPO Regional Intelligence Division under Major General Debold M. Sinas arrested Chinese-Filipino citizen Huanshing Ng Chan in a sting at no. 9 Kitanlad Street in Barangay Doña Josefa, Q.C.

The operation was triggered by a complaint sent to the Southern Metro Manila CIDG under Lieutenant Col. Reyson Bagain that the accused is selling overpriced unlabeled alcohol in Metro Manila.

Ibay said that his men conducted a validation thru Facebook and confirmed that the suspect was indeed selling a 1 liter-bottle of alcohol for P175 each.

During the entrapment operation, the 59-year old suspect was arrested after he received P4,000 in boodle money topped by a marked P500 bill from a poseur who bought him the overpriced alcohol. Recovered during the operation were 350 bottles of 1-liter bottle of unlabeled alcohol valued at P61,250.

Ibay said that the suspect will be facing charges for violation of the price and consumer’s act and profiteering.

PNP-CIDG director, Maj. Gen. Joel Napoleon M. Coronel also reported the arrest last Saturday evening of retired Chinese businessman Wang Yongyi, marketing company supervisor Caroline Cheng Lee and their employee Bernadette Santos for selling overpriced surgical or disposable face masks online.

Coronel said that the operation conducted by the CIDG Detective and Special Operations Unit and the Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Unit in Protacio Street in Bgy. 97, Pasay City led in the seizure of 5,110 boxes of surgical or disposable face masks valued at P8.687 million.

He said that the suspects were found to be selling a box of the surgical mask for P1,700 each or P34 per piece which is way above the PP1,400 per box or P28 per piece retail price suggested by the Departments of Trade and Industry and Health.

Coronel said that the suspects will be charged for violation of the Price Act, the Consumer Act of the Philippines in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and the anti-hoarding and anti-panic buying law.

Last Friday, PNP-CIDG operatives also conducted 13 operations which led in the arrest of 30 individuals and the confiscation of over P4.2 million worth of alcohol, hand sanitizers and face masks being sold at a very high price by the accused.

Coronel said that last Friday, CIDG Anti-Organized Crime Unit agents arrested Ernel Vincent Estilo, Nelgielyn Indong, Girlie Bonifacio, Charles Cabula, Rosalito Manalo, Juan Fidel Talag, Jane Aguilar and Christian Alfred Gonzales during an entrapment operation in Velasquez St., Tondo, Manilla.

Recovered from the suspects were 19 bubble-wrapped boxes of face masks worth P620,000 and the marked money. Two vans being used by the suspects were also impounded by the CIDG.

The suspects were found to be selling the face masks at P2,500 per box.

In Iligan City, Isabela,  local CIDG operatives arrested businessman Michael Bravo for selling overpriced alcohol and face masks last Friday. Recovered from the suspect’s possession were 20 bottles of hand sanitizers, 31 bottles of 500ml ethyl alcohol being sold at P300 each, 38 disposable N95 masks being sold at P150 each and the marked money he received from an officer. The recovered pieces of evidence was valued at P15,850.

CIDG Region 3 agents also arrested Jimmel Angelo Jimenez, Mark Kevin de Guzman and Jennifer Coronel in separate entrapment operations in Olongapo City, Tarlac and Bataan last week.

Jimenez was arrested for selling 250ml alcohol bottles for P150 each during a sting in 6th Street corner Gordon Avenue in New Asinan, Olongapo City. The suspect yielded an estimated P13,500 worth of alcohol products.

De Guzman on the other hand yielded three boxes containing 36 bottles of 500ml isoprophyl alcohol being sold at a very high price along McArthur Highway in Bgy. Lourdes, Bamban, Tarlac. The evidence recovered from the suspect was valued at over P8,000.

Coronel was arrested in a sting in Batumbakal, Bgy. Tenejero in Balanga, Bataan. She yielded 52 bottles of 250ml isopropyl alcohol worth P5,720 and the marked money.

On Saturday, CIDG operatives also arrested Archie Metiam for selling overpriced hand sanitizers—P250 each bottle-to a poseur along C3 Road corner Tuna ST. in Bgy. 28, Caloocan City. The suspect yielded 129 bottles of hand sanitizers worth P32,250.

In Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija, CIDG Region 3 agents arrested Bener Navarrete, Jonathan Segura and his brother Johnray and Edgardo Corpuz for hoarding, profiettering, selling and refilling of isopropyl alcohol.

Seized from the suspects were seven 20-liter containers of the alcohol, 37 pieces of 3.5 liter alcohol bottles, 414 plastic bottles of 1-liter alcohol and 137 empty alcohol bottles, with a market value of P220,520.

In Cagayan de Oro City, CIDG officers arrested Percy Datoy, Yobryte Unabia, Jerome Quiachon and Daniel Casiño for selling overpriced alcohol. Recovered from the suspects were some P24,000 worth of ethyl alcohol products and the marked money.

Similar stings in the same city likewise led in the arrest of Gretchen Caare, Rhocile Lee Romblon-Fournier and Marcelino Yu while in the act of selling overpriced hand sanitizers, isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol.

Coronel said separate entrapment operations in Sta. Cruz, Manila and Q.C. also resulted in the arrest of Bernadine Cruz, Ivy Austra, Monina Gallardo, Miko Santiso, Buenaventura Rama and Roseli de Guzman and the the confiscation of some P3.4 million worth of medical supplies including isopropyl alcohol, disposal surgical masks, surgical gloves, protective equipment and ear thermometers.