THE Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) yesterday announced the arrest of a local inventor and his son by agents of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) for selling fake COVID-19 medicines and posting false claims about the deadly virus online during an entrapment operation Sunday in Navotas City.
PNP-ACG director Brigadier General Dennis P. Agustin said the suspects identified as local inventor Ismael Aviso and his son Ismael Jr. were placed under arrest by members of the PNP-ACG, the Police Regional Office 4-A and the Northern Police District shortly after they received P7,500 in marked money from an undercover officer.
The entrapment operation was conducted at the suspects’ residence at Block 31, Lot 34, Phase 2, Area 2 in Barangay North Bay Boulevard, Dagat-Dagatan, Navotas City.
According to Agustin, the two were found to be selling fake COVID-19 medicine and spreading false medicinal claim about the same online. During the actual sting, the inventor showed to an undercover agent a spray bottle which he claimed contained an anti-COVID-19 medicine. Recovered during the operation were a box loaded with the fake anti-COVID-19 medicine and the marked money.
He said members of the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit 4-A led by Colonel Julius C. Suriben placed the two under investigation after they monitored through social media that the suspects were selling “medicinal products” that can counter COVID-19.
Agustin said that the RACU 4-A investigation showed that the so-called “Anti-Covid-19 Medicine” being sold were merely concocted by the elder Aviso who is known for inventing the Motionless Electric Generator in 2011.
He said that the Food and Drugs Administration in August and September last year also issued separate public health advisories against Aviso’s products for being falsely advertised as a cure to viral diseases such as dengue.
Agustin said that the two Avisos will be charged with violation of Section 11 (a) (b) and (g) of Republic Act 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009 and Article 315 (estafa) and Article 154 (unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances) of the Revised Penal Code in relation to RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
The younger Aviso will also be charged with violation of Article 151 of the RPC (resistance and disobedience to a person in authority) for causing slight physical injury to one of the officers who arrested them and violation of RA 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 for unauthorized use of private documents.
Following the arrest of the two, Agustin called on the public to be wary of false claims and other hoax reports being circulated online.