2 men nabbed for selling fake RT-PCR test results

By: Paul Lauro - CDN Digital Correspondent | March 18,2021 - 08:17 PM
fake RT-PCR

A photo-editing software showing an image of an RT-PCR test result being manipulated. | via Paul Lauro #CDNDigital

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Operatives from the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) arrested on Thursday, March 18 two men for reportedly producing and selling fake swab test results.

The operation conducted in downtown Cebu City and in Pier 1 led to the arrest of Rakim Busara, 19, and Rogelio Nebres, 40.

Initial reports from NBI-7 showed that they received information from a concerned citizen last Monday, March 14, about several individuals along Colon Street, selling fake real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results.

After days of monitoring and verifying the tip, NBI-7 carried out on Thursday afternoon an entrapment operation first against Busara then conducted a follow-up against Nebres.

Busara was arrested inside a building located at the junction of Legaspi and Colon Streets.

Nebres, on the other hand, was caught in Pier 1.

NBI-7’s reports also showed that travelers would only need to pay between P800 to P1,500 to Nebres who allegedly will instruct Busara to come up with the printed and fake RT-PCR results.

The suspects were also able to produce the documents within an hour.

Individuals who undergo swab tests in accredited molecular laboratories will have to usually wait around 24 to 48 hours for their results.

Obtaining RT-PCR test results in Cebu City from private hospitals and other accredited testing facilities cost at least P3,000.

Both Nebres and Busara are currently under the custody of NBI-7.

Nebres, who also worked as a habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) driver, admitted that he knew what he got into but said he was just recruited to act as a middleman.

“I’m the only one who will refer (to Busara) those who wanted to get the documents. And we don’t sell them to those who we don’t personally know,” said Nebres in Cebuano.

Busara, on the other hand, said he was not aware that the job he got into, which is manipulating images of genuine RT-PCR results, was part of an illegal transaction.

“I was just told to follow what they ordered,” Busara added in Cebuano.

Authorities confiscated a computer set and a printer as evidence. /rcg

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TAGS: Cebu City, COVID-19, fake RT-PCR, fake RT-PCR sold, RT-PCR

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