By Jeffrey Damicog
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Saturday, March 21, warned profiteers against taking advantage of the ongoing enhanced community quarantine by selling to consumers overpriced health care products.
“The NBI will be relentless in its campaign against profiteers and overpricing to protect consumers especially during this crisis,” assured NBI Director Eric Distor in a statement.
Distor made the warning as he led an operation of the NBI’s Special Action Unit (NIBI-SAU) on Friday, March 21, against a store in Sta. Cruz, Manila which sold overpriced thermal scanners and face masks.
During the operation, Distor said NBI agents arrested the staff of the store and seized 1,360 pieces of thermal scanners and 7,680 pieces of face masks even though the store had the signs “out of stock thermal scanner” and “out of stock any kind of mask.”.
Distor said the items were worth more than P10 million.
The NBI chief said the raid of the store was conducted after receiving information that the thermal scanners were being sold at P8,000 per piece.
He said the price was eight times more than its original price of P1,000 per piece.
Distor said charges are being readied against the store owner who was not present during the operation, and his staff for violating Republic Act 7581, the Price Act of the Philippines.
Also on Friday, Distor said the NBI Rizal District Office led by Atty. Igmidio Congzon Jr. also raided the Professional Skin Care Formula by Dr. Alvin office in Taytay, Rizal for selling overpriced isopropyl alcohol.
NBI agents seized a total of eight gallons of 70 percent isopropyl alcohol which were being sold at P750 per gallon which was much higher than the price set by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which already ordered a price freeze.
Distor said charges will be filed against the establishment’s owner and her staff for violating RA 7581, as amended, as well as RA 9711, the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009.