Illegal online sale of unregistered COVID-19 capsules and test kits uncovered; 100 boxes seized in Barangay Apas raid
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Around 100 boxes of capsules believed to be medicines for COVID-19 as well as rapid test kits valued at P200,000 were confiscated from a 25-year-old man during an entrapment operation in San Antonio Village in Barangay Apas, Cebu City, past 4 p.m. today, June 25.
Police Major Glen Hife, chief of the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG-7), identified the suspect as Matthew Louis Christopher Ngo Po, who owns an apartment in the said village.
Hife said they transacted with the suspect for one week through Facebook.
He said they first asked assistance from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to verify if the capsules were registered medicines against COVID-19.
When the FDA issued a certification that the product brand Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang was unregistered, Hife said they then conducted an entrapment operation against Po which resulted in the confiscation of at least 100 boxes of the capsules and test kits.
Hife also revealed that the suspect has been engaged in this business since February this year. The suspect reportedly did not disclose the source of the medicines saying he got them from Manila. He also did not identify his customers and business partners, Hife said.
“Ni engage ani nga negosyo based pod sa recommendation sa iyang kaila sa Manila nga mamaligya siya dri, epektibo ni nga klase sa tambal. Pero bag-o lang daw sya base sa iyang testimony…Ang iyang sulti, Manila raman. Wa ra siyay laing tawo or tindahan or kompanya, sa Manila lang iyang gisulti. Chinese ni siya (brand),” Hife said.
(He engaged in this kind of business based on the recommendation of the person he knew in Manila who also sells this kind of product. The person allegedly claimed that the capsules are effective against COVID-19. The suspect said that he is still new in the business and failed to give specific information about his source.)
Hife said that their focus now would be to track down the source of the unregistered medicines and Po’s possible customers here.
Po is currently detained in RSOG-7 detention facility as he will be charged for violation of Republic Act 9711 or FDA Act of 2009 for selling unregistered products.
As per confirmation from Hife, CDN Digital tried to visit the said Facebook page where Po’s illegal transactions were done and found it still active as of this posting. Hife said the said page bears the TradeX Cebu name.
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