Two men who were illegally selling coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test kits online were arrested in an entrapment operation conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), the Philippine National Police (PNP) bared Friday, March 26.
Police Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, director of the PNP-CIDG, identified the suspects as Stephen Matthew Reyes, 26; and Patrick Jimenez, 36.
The enterprising businessmen were nabbed by joint police units led by the CIDG district field unit last March 22 in Sta. Cruz, Manila.
According to Ferro, the CIDG received reports from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the online activities of the suspects, who offer rapid test kits to customers. This is a violation of FDA Circular No. 2020-016, an order that prohibits the online selling of FDA-certified COVID-19 antibody test kits.
Ferro said this prompted the CIDG field office to set up an entrapment operation wherein an undercover agent made an online transaction with the suspects to purchase 60 boxes of COVID-19 rapid test kits for P408,000.
The undercover agent met with the suspects and received the test kits from them.
This was the signal for the back-up cops to reveal themselves and barge inside the makeshift warehouse where the suspects were caught. The test kits were subsequently confiscated.
According to Ferro, the FDA confirmed that both Reyes and Jimenez were not authorized to sell COVID-19 rapid test kits online.
The suspects also failed to present their license to operate or special permit to sell and distribute the test kits, Ferro added.