More alcohol, face mask hoarders arrested

NINE more persons including a Malaysian national involved in hoarding and selling of overpriced alcohol and face mask have been jailed by agents of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on Tuesday, a report to PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa said yesterday.

“We are continuing our campaign against hoarders and sellers of overpriced medical supplies as these individuals or groups continue to take advantage of the COVID-19 scare in the country,” said PNP-CIDG director, Major Gen. Joel Napoleon M. Coronel as he noted the arrest of the suspects, some of them using private vehicles marked as ‘Ambulance’ and the recovery of over P16 million worth of hoarded hygienic products and other hospital supplies.

Coronel said that during a sting inside the Waltermart Mall in Barangay Maduya in Carmona, Cavite conducted by officers from the Cavite CIDG and the Cavite Police Provincial Office at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, seven suspects were arrested over the hoarding and sale of an estimated P1.3 million worth of N-98 disposable face masks.

The official identified the suspects as Chinese-Filipino national Hasan Meehar Asana,43 and 28-year old Malaysian national Laio Geou Tee who were both described as ‘suppliers’ of the hoarded face masks; financiers Ma. Anelia de los Reyes,60; and Micah Salvador,27; sales agents Vanessa Zolayvar,51 and Dennis Realon,29; and ambulance driver Bienvenido Alvarez,52.

The operation stemmed from the information received by the CIDG from a concerned citizen that a Facebook Account of Vanesa Zolayvar with cellular phone number is allegedly selling an expired and overpriced disposable facemask (N88) in the area of Cavite. A CIDG poseur buyer transacted with the said person through her cellular phone number and inquired about the price of the disposable face mask upon which the latter answered that the value of a box containing fifty face masks costs P1,500.00.

Coronel said recovered during the sting were 931 pieces of plastic packs each containing 50 pieces of disposable N-95 face masks without labels, the boodle money topped by a marked P500 bill and 5 mobile phones. A white Hyundai H-100 with ‘Ambulance’ marking was impounded by the CIDG.

The official said that the products being sold by the suspects were found to be higher than the Department of Trade and Industry’s suggested retail price.

In Ilocos Norte, CIDG Region 1 and Police Regional Office 1 operatives arrested Rochelle del Rosario, a resident of Bgy. 8 in Paoay municipality for manufacturing and selling water-base disinfectant and hand sanitizers without label and proper documents at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Recovered from the suspect’s possession were 113 pieces of 1-liter plastic bottles containing the supposed disinfectant being sold at P150 each bottle and 13 pieces of 1-liter bottles of hand sanitizer being sold at P200 per bottle.

In Albay, local CIDG and police agents arrested 56-year old Roberto Erquiaga Jr. during a sting inside the Teacher’s Village in Bgy. 16, Kawit East, Washington Drive, Legazpi City 6:30 p.m. Tuesday while  in the act of selling 30 pieces of 250ml bottles of isopropyl alcohol at P160 each which is way above the DTI suggested price.

The suspect also yielded the marked money and the transaction receipt he gave to the poseur. The pieces of evidence  recovered from the suspect were placed at P24,350.

Last Monday, PNP-CIDG agents also arrested 5 ambulance-riding persons for selling overpriced thermal guns and surgical gloves during an entrapment operation in Quezon City.

Coronel said that his men discovered that the suspects were selling infrared thermal guns at P6,100 each and surgical gloves at P310 per piece.

However, the DTI had said that an infrared thermal gun’s suggested retail price is P1,000 each unit while surgical gloves at P160 each pair.

Recovered during the sting were 25 cartons each containing 10 boxes with 50 pairs of surgical gloves, 2 large cartons each containing 50 thermal guns and the boodle money topped by a marked P1,000 bill.

The CIDG-ATCU placed the value of the confiscated evidence at P317,500.