Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) seized some P1.4 million worth of antigen rapid test kits for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from two sellers during a buy-bust in Manila and Davao City.
Nabbed were 44-year old Rowena Purugganan, an online seller or sale representative; and, Gracel Jane Recustodio Arnaiz, a 24-year-old businesswoman.
CIDG director Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro said Purugganan, who was allegedly a subleader of the Christian Criminal Group engaged in illegal selling of COVID-19 medical supplies, was collared in Manila on Sept. 8 after she sold the rapid antigen test kits to a police poseur buyer.
Seized from her were four Clungene antigen mother boxes containing 50 small boxes or 5,000 individually wrapped cassette kits worth P625,000, one delivery receipt issued to “Clark Mendoza” with Control Number 009725, buy-bust and boodle money, identification cards, mobile phones, and a Toyota Hi-Ace.
Arnaiz, on the other hand, was arrested at her house in Matina Pangi, Purok 4A, Davao City, where she was found in possession of seven boxes of OTC Linghua Qingwen Jiaonang in Chinese character and one box of Clungene COVID-19 antigen rapid test worth a total of P800,000.
Also seized were a box of COVID-19 rapid test device, one cash sales invoice (No. 067), one pad of delivery receipt, and one pad of cash sales invoice receipt.
Ferro said the two suspects were already charged for violating Republic Act 9711, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009, which strictly prohibits the online selling of FDA certified COVID-19 antibody test kits.
He emphasized that all COVID-19 antibody test kits (rapid test, point-of-care, lateral flow, Elisa, GICA, CLIA among others) with FDA special certification are strictly for medical professional use and not intended for personal use.
“Some business group capitalize their illegal activities due to the dispute of the urgency and shortage of COVID-19 medical devices in the height of COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ferro.