By Jeffrey Damicog
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed charges against two establishments in Manila found to be hoarding and selling overpriced medical masks and thermal scanners, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Tuesday.
Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete identified the two establishments as Icon Medics Trading and Jasrich Medical Supplies and Medical Equipment.
The DOJ spokesman said the NBI filed separate criminal complaints against the respective owners and staff of the two establishments during inquest proceedings held Monday afternoon, March 23, before the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office.
“The personalities were engaged in medical supply businesses located in Bambang, Rizal Avenue, Manila,” Perete said.
“They were apprehended following an entrapment operation by the NBI in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry,” he added.
The owners and staff of the two establishments were charged with profiteering and hoarding under Republic Act 7581, the Price Act; and unfair or unconscionable sales act or practice under RA 7394, the Consumer Act of the Philippines.
On March 21, NBI Director Eric Distor led the bureau’s Special Action Unit (NBI-SAU) in conducting an entrapment operation against the two establishments following information that these were selling overpriced medical masks and thermal scanners.
The NBI was able to seize a total of 1,360 pieces of thermal scanners and 7,680 pieces of face masks worth more than P10 million.
The thermal scanners were being sold at P8,000 per piece which was eight times the original price of P1,000.
The establishments also posted signs which read “out of stock thermal scanner” and “out of stock any kind of mask.”