P1M overpriced N95 masks seized in SJ

TWO suspected hoarders-profiteers  were arrested by members of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group while conspiring to sell P1 million worth of overpriced N95 disposable masks in San Juan City to an undercover officer on Tuesday evening, officials said yesterday.

The two suspects identified as Krizia Ann Loyang and Romeo Cruz were placed under arrest shortly after they sold 3M 8210 N95 masks at P315 per piece to the poseur in Artiaga Street, Barangay Corazon de Jesus, San Juan City, said PNP-CIDG director, Major General Joel Napoleon M. Coronel.

According to Coronel, members of the CIDG Anti-Transnational Crime Unit, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry conducted the entrapment operation following complaints that the two suspects were involved in hoarding and selling of overpriced personnel protective equipment including face masks.

Recovered during the sting were 10,040 pieces of N95 disposable face masks with a market value of P1,054,00 since the DTI suggested retail price for each mask is P150 only.

The suspects could have earned a total of P3,16,600 had they were able to sell their hoarded products at P315 per piece, said the PNP-CIDG.

Both are now being held at the CIDG-ATCU office in Camp Crame facing charges for violation of Republic Act  7581 or the Price Act as amended by RA 10623 in relation to sec. 6 (c) of RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Coronel said that from March 17 to date, they have conducted a total of 333 operations against persons involved in hoarding, profiteering, and overpricing of medical supplies  leading in the arrest of 500 suspects and the filing of 495 criminal charges against the accused in different courts in the country.

Coronel said that since the start of the Enhanced Community Quarantine, they have seized more than P55 million worth of hoarded medical products including alcohol, face masks and thermal scanners. Many of the arrests were made by agents of the CIDG National Capital Region headed by Colonel Arnold Thomas C. Ibay, said the official.