DILG orders PNP to arrest sellers of fake COVID-19 vaccines

Robie de Guzman   •   February 18, 2021   •   247

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to arrest individuals who are selling or administering fake vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The DILG issued the warning following reports that fake COVID-19 vaccines are being circulated in the market amid an increase in demand and preparations for the rollout of the vaccination program in the country.

DILG officer-in-charge and Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. said the PNP and the local government units must be on top of the hunt and arrest peddlers of bogus vaccines.

“Some people are taking advantage of the pandemic to make money by selling fake vaccines. I am directing the PNP to arrest these criminals and ensure that these bogus vaccines are taken off the market,” Florece said in a statement.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto earlier expressed alarm over the supposed sale of fake vaccines.

In his Twitter account, Sotto posted a photo of the alleged bogus Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines with a warning to the public not to purchase them.

Florece said the PNP should work double time to ensure that no fake vaccines are sold to the public as part of its task to secure COVID-19 vaccines.

He also directed the PNP Aviation Security Group and Maritime Group to enhance their monitoring of the country’s air and sea ports to prevent the entry of these items.

“Nauna na nating ipinaalala ang pagtutulungan ng PNP at mga LGU sa pag-secure ng mga bakuna but the two must also collaborate to ensure that fake vaccines are confiscated and those responsible arrested and charged,” he said.

Florece also urged the public not to buy these vaccines and immediately report these sellers to authorities.

“Huwag po kayong magpapaloko. Tanging sa pamahalaan lamang po dadaan ang mga lehitimong bakuna at maliban dito ay ireport ninyo po ang mga nagbebenta at nagtuturok ng mga pekeng COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.


PDEA chief to resign if personnel in ‘misencounter’ indeed sold drugs

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Wilkins Villanueva has offered his resignation if the evidence will prove that PDEA and Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives involved in the ‘misencounter’ were selling drugs.

Based on several reports, the operation conducted last February 24 in Commonwealth involving the Quezon City Police District-Special Operations Unit and PDEA was a sell-bust.

Villanueva also challenged anyone holding evidence to prove that the PNP and PDEA were selling drugs during the ‘misencounter’.

Huwag na tayo magsalita ng walang ebidensya kasi hearsay lang iyon. Magsalita ka kung may nakikita kang ebidensya na andiyan, CCTV ang patunay. Maghanap, magpalabas sila ng CCTV na nagbentahan ang PDEA at ang pulis magre-resign ako right now (Let us not talk without evidence because those will be hearsays. Talk if you have evidence, the CCTV is available for proof. Show a CCTV footage showing the police and PDEA were selling and buying drugs then I will resign right now), he said.

PNP chief PGen. Debold Sinas said the involved PDEA agents and police were returned to their respective units. He also refused to further comment on the issue and said to wait for the result of the NBI’s investigation.

Ang mga personnel namin iyong mga personnel namin will be doing administrative duties at mag-report sila sa opisina pending the result of the NBI investigation (Our personnel will be doing administrative duties and they will report in the office while the result of the NBI investigation is pending),” Sinas said

“We are very confident the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) is capable, has the ability to find out the truth,” he added.

The NBI now has custody of the evidence earlier gathered by the PNP. -AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Guns, phones used by agents in PNP-PDEA clash to undergo examination – NBI

Robie de Guzman   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Firearms, cellphones and other pieces of evidence recovered from the shooting incident between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will undergo examination, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Tuesday.

NBI spokesperson and deputy director Ferdinand Lavin said the PNP and PDEA have already turned over some of the evidence from the alleged misencounter that occurred between its operatives last week along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

These include 29 guns and slugs which will undergo forensic examination to know which among these firearms were used during the shootout.

Police also provided a copy of the technical forensic evidence like autopsy reports, drug tests, DNA tests, paraffin tests, as well as the analysis of bullet trajectories to the NBI.

“Saan nakuha sa crime scene yung empty shells? Sino nakatama kanino? Anong baril nakatama, kanino? Kung may nakuhang slug doon sa katawan ng tao, malalaman natin more or less. Tinitingnan din namin yung relative position nung shooter to the target at approximate distance,” he said.

They will also look at recovered CCTV footage to help determine the positions and actions of operatives before and during the incident.

Cellphones used by the operatives have also been handed over to the investigating body.

Lavin said these devices will be analyzed by the NBI’s digital forensic team.

“Doon sa cellphone, malalaman natin yung takbo ng kwento, especially yung mga operatiba, (coordination?) Yes that’s parts of the analytics na gagawin,” he said.

Lavin said the NBI will gather next testimonial evidence, particularly those involved in the incident.

The NBI has been designated by President Rodrigo Duterte as the sole body to probe the alleged misencounter.

At least four people were killed in the shootout, including two policemen, one PDEA agent, and an informant. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Police arrests blackmailer for posting nude photos of victim

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A blackmailer was arrested by authorities during an entrapment operation in Cebu.

The suspect, identified as 23-year-old Robert Villegas Debulosan, was arrested on February 28 after a 19-year old victim from Talisay City filed a complaint against him.

Based on the complaint, Debulosan posted nude photos of her in various group chats on Facebook after the victim refused to have sex with the suspect.

During the entrapment, authorities seized a mobile phone and three mall sachets of suspected shabu.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) reported that Debulosan maintains 17 poser accounts in Facebook which he uses to entice women by initially courting them online. He will then eventually ask for nude photos of the victim which he will later use in a blackmail scheme.

Debulosan is facing criminal charges for violation of R.A 9995 or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009. AAC

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