CEBU - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Central Visayas has filed charges of violating the Food and Drug Administration Act and the Cybercrime Law against four individuals in Cebu City and Mandaue City, following a series of entrapment operations over the illegal sale of COVID-19 test kits.
Those charged were identified as Christineline Depaudhon, Maria Juliet Dumadag, Mykel Ceriola, and Jessel Faith Catarinen.
According to NBI-7 officer Arnel Pura, the suspects had no authority to sell the COVID-19 test kits.
“They were openly selling to the public through the medium of the internet and neither the rapid test kits sold are registered and authorized,” said Pura.
Pura added they tracked down the suspects on social media, where they were posting about 2 brands of COVID-19 test kits that did not have the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. Around 200 boxes were seized, and the value of the products amounted to over P1 million.
The NBI-7 told the public to only purchase test kits that are approved by the government. The FDA has so far approved the COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test from Abbott Laboratories Philippines and the SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test from Chinese company Labnovation Technologies Inc.
The increase in demand for test kits in Cebu is followed by the rise in cases in the province. According to DOH data, as of January 27 there were 1,142 new cases in entire Cebu island, including major cities. Active cases on the island meanwhile were at 14,766.