Businessman arrested for selling COVID-19 vaccination slots in Manila

Published June 21, 2021, 7:19 PM

by Andrea Aro

A businessman was arrested for allegedly selling COVID-19 vaccination slots in Manila, police reported Monday.

(Photo courtesy of Manila Police District Special Mayor’s Reaction Team / MANILA BULLETIN)

Manila Police District Special Mayor’s Reaction Team (SMART) conducted an entrapment operation on June 11 which resulted in the arrest of the suspect identified as James T. Chua, 35, a resident of Bacoor, Cavite.

Prior to the suspect’s arrest, a certain Reckcham E. Salubre, a delivery and pick up rider, told the authorities that he picked up money “known to him to be remittances” of Chua’s other businesses to some Chinese nationals residing in Binondo, Manila.

Later, it was revealed that the money were payments for the vaccination slots administered by the Manila Health Department (MHD).

The 35-year-old businessman will face charges for violation of Article 315 or the False Pretense or Fraudulent Representation of the Revised Penal Code, and the Manila City Ordinance 8740.

The ordinance prohibits “any person, institution, corporation, group, or organization to engage in the sale, distribution, or administration of Covid-19 vaccines for gain, income, or profit, while the country is in a state of public health emergency and without full market authorization issued by the Food and Drug Administration.”

On May 24, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso signed the said city ordinance amid reports of an alleged “vaccine fee” scheme in some Metro cities.