2 persons face raps for allegedly selling fake swab test results at Cebu City port
CEBU CITY –– Two persons are facing charges after they were arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) on Thursday for allegedly producing and selling fake swab test results at the Cebu City port.
Rogelio Sumalinog Nebres, 40; and Rakim Sultan Busara, 19—both residents of Cebu City—were accused of selling negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for P1,500.
The fake document, which bears the hospital’s logo, costs half of the P3,000 minimum cost of an RT-PCR test in an accredited private laboratory and is produced less than an hour compared to the laboratories which usually take 24 to 48 hours to process and release test results.
The suspects were charged with estafa through falsification of public documents under the Revised Penal Code in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 at the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday.
VSMMC chief Gerardo Aquino Jr., in a statement, described as “totally unacceptable” the acts of the suspects.
“We would like to state that we do not condone such activities. We are dismayed by these unscrupulous acts conducted by these individuals, which tarnished the hard-earned reputation of VSMMC’s subnational laboratory,” he said.
Aquino advised the public to stay vigilant and to undergo RT-PCR tests only in accredited laboratories.
“We would like to reiterate that we should put a stop to the propagation of these activities by not patronizing these individuals and be tested only in accredited COVID-19 laboratories,” he said.
“We need the public’s cooperation and vigilance so that no individual can take advantage of this pandemic to carry out their illegal motives,” he added.
NBI-7 Director Rennan Augustus Oliva said the fake RT-PCR tests were sold to ferry passengers that leave the Cebu port for Bohol province.
The fake document, he said, was offered mostly to passengers at Cebu City’s Pier 3 going to Tubigon town and at Pier 1 for Tagbilaran City in Bohol.
After a series of surveillance operations, the NBI-7 validated the reports and hatched an entrapment operation against the suspects.
On Thursday, March 18, the NBI-7 arrested Nebres at Pier 1 while Busara was collared at a shop along Colon Street in downtown Cebu City.
Busara allegedly created the fake documents while Nebres looked for clients at the pier.
Both suspects were detained at the NBI-7 stockade.
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