THE stepped-up Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s campaign against profiteers and hoarders taking advantage of the nationwide crisis brought about by the deadly COVID-19 virus resulted in the arrest of eight more persons found selling more than 300 bottles and gallons of overpriced ethyl alcohol and sanitizers in Visayas region, a report to PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa said yesterday.
PNP-CIDG director, Major Gen. Joel Napoleon M. Coronel, said two of the suspects identified as Queeny May Rosa de los Reyes and Jan-jan Alano were arrested in an entrapment operation conducted by members of the CIDG Region 7 and the Police Regional Office 7 n Sitio Villa San Pedro in Barangay Tulay in Minglanilla, Cebu.
Recovered during the sting were 51 pieces of 100ml bottles of hand sanitizers, 126 plastic bottles of 1000ml 70 percent Ethyl Alcohol and the boodle money topped by a marked bill.
Coronel said that the two were caught in the act of selling ethyl alcohols and hand sanitizers beyond the ceiling price or the Suggested Retail Price set by the Department of Trade and Industry and without any permit from the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration.
Another entrapment operation in Bgy. Tanza Bonifacio in Iloilo City led in the arrest of Princess Angel Jamolo, Conrado Sorongon Jr., Jennifer Frayco, Gracel Mae Castro and siblings Erlyn and Ernalyn Veras, said the CIDG director.
Coronel said that members of the CIDG Iloilo City Field Unit and the local police recovered 37 bottles of 1-liter Ethyl and Methyl Alcohol 70 percent solution sold by the suspects to an undercover officer as well as the marked money.
The sting likewise led in the confiscation of the following pieces of additional evidence: 18 bottles, 18 bottles of 100ml Ethyl and Methyl Alcohol, 70 pieces of 4-liter plastic containers with unlabeled alcohol, 37 pieces of 4-liter plastic container with unscented 70 percent Casino Ethyl Alcohol, 20 pieces of 1-liter Ethyl and Methyl Alcohol and 29 pieces of 1-liter unlabeled alcohol.
Two vehicles used by the suspects to transport the overpriced alcohol products: a white Kia Sorento and a Honda RS 125 motorcycle were impounded by the CIDG.
Coronel said that the two operations were triggered by complaints sent to their office regarding the alleged hoarding and overpriced selling of alcohol in Iloilo City and Cebu.
He said that the suspects were found to be selling a liter of alcohol for P290 each in contrast to the DTI proposed price of P47 to P60.
Dozens of people including several Chinese-Filipinos and a Malaysian national have been arrested and jailed by the PNP-CIDG for hoarding and selling of overpriced hygienic products including alcohol, hand sanitizers, thermal scanners and face masks since last week.
“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 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.
The recent arrests were made in Barangay Maduya in Carmona, Cavite where seven suspects were arrested over the hoarding and sale of an estimated P1.3 million worth of N-98 disposable face masks.
The suspects were found to be selling disposable N-98 face masks at P1,500 per 50 pieces. Another suspect arrested in Paoay, Ilocos Norte yielded 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, another man was arrested 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.